Cupid the Chemist

He has little wings and looks like a baby, but Cupid helps adults find their other half. They say Cupid uses arrows to work his magic, but science is saying otherwise.

This Valentine’s Day, or the next time you find yourself thinking about love, you may want to pay attention to how Cupid’s key chemicals are reacting in your body.

According to scientists, chemicals that influence feelings of love include norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. This triple threat of neuro-transmitters called “monoamines[1]” causes people to act “crazy in love.” Here’s why:

  1. Norepinephrine—This chemical is similar to adrenaline and makes people feel happy and restless. It produces the racing heart, excitement, and sweaty palms when you are near the one you love.
  2. Serotonin—This chemical is the reason why your new love keeps popping into your head and why you can’t stop thinking about him or her. One study even found that those who were in love had low levels of serotonin, levels similar to those of people with OCD. This would explain why people newly in love seem to be “obsessed” with one another.
  3. Dopamine— says, “The main chemical involved in love is dopamine, which produces feelings of euphoria, energy, sleeplessness, and focused attention on your beloved. Biologically speaking, you’re experiencing something similar to a cocaine high.[2]” More than anything, this chemical is responsible for the gleeful, cheery mood that correlates with those in love.

These chemicals all play off each other. Norepinephrine and serotonin make the brain feel excited while dopamine makes people feel elated and happy. The combination of excitement and joy, which often accompanies a budding love, points to Cupid the chemist after all.




—Madison Parks, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences



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