A thumping heart is often quoted as the first sign of love – a way of your body telling you that the girl or boy in front of you is what you desire.
But does love come first or does your heartbeat come first?
Although most people believe that their heart is beating faster because they’re in love, science proves that it is in fact the opposite.
An experiment was designed where male subjects were asked to answer a questionnaire given out by an attractive woman. One group had to cross a very long suspension bridge first, the control group had to cross the same distance on flat, solid ground. It was found that men from the first group were more likely to complete the questionnaire, give answers that were more romantic and sexual, and even call the survey girl afterwards.
Similarly, a group of men were shown four women while being connected to headphones that played back their own heart sounds. They were then asked to rate which girl was the most attractive.
After the experiment, it was found that the third girl received a landslide win, despite the different tastes of each man in the group. When asked, the subjects all replied that they heard their heart speeding up, thus believed that they found her the most attractive.
The twist was, when the third girl was shown, the audio was changed from the subject’s heartbeat to a pre-recorded heartbeat that beat faster than normal. Therefore, the men were fooled into thinking that the girl was more attractive by “increasing” their heart rate. This phenomenon was found in women also.
The answer to the question is that dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters secreted when a person is in love, also has the effect of increasing one’s heart rate. The brain therefore can misinterpret an increased heart rate as the effect of love through false association.
This effect is quite well known in dating tips as people are encouraged to go to places that invoke fear or excitement, such as an amusement park, horror movie, or high place to gain the best response from the opposite sex.
Ergo, science does play a role in love and just like anything else, it can be easily manipulated.