All a persons emotions, memories and thoughts were stored in the heart, according to early Egyptians, but wrong doings made the heart heavier. In Stoicism a philosophy founded in Athens in early 3rd century BC taught that the heart was the seat of the soul. Even Aristotle thought the heart controlled reason, though and emotion.
For some believers the liver, surprisingly enough, was the seat of passions, the brain the seat of reason and the heart the seat of emotion. Rhis belief was perhaps born because when in the heat of emotion lust or fear can be felt in by the pounding of the heart beat or sinking feeling in our chests. Our heart provides our body what it needs in the height emotion by pumping harder and stronger. Fight or flight happens in the brain and then the body. We first truly feel that primal urge in our core thought the heavy thump of our hearts.
Thanks to modern medicine we now know this as a myth. Emotion in fact, happens in all parts of the brain. Through EEG (electroencephalogram) and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging ) we can literally paint a picture and the process between stimulus and emotional reaction in the physical brain. Where does leave “Where can love and desire be found? Are they located in the same place? How closely are love and desire linked? How much of what feel about love and desire a biological code? A recent study published internationally in the Journal of Sexual Medicine can help shed some light on the topic.
"No one has ever put these two together to see the patterns of activation," says Jim Pfaus (professor of psychology at Concordia University, member of the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology and a co-author of the study). "We didn't know what to expect, the two could have ended up being completely separate. It turns out that love and desire activate specific but related areas in the brain."
Pooling data from twenty separate studies with colleagues in the U.S and Switzerland, Pfaus observed there were two distinct areas in the brain that seemed to be related to love and desire. Brain activity was studied as couples viewed erotic pictures or photographs of their significant other. With this information they were able to map parts of the brain largely responsible for the profession from sexual desire to love. So if you can't really love someone with all your heart? What can you love them with? Answers pointed to the insula and straitum, two areas of the brain linked closely to central nervous system and our natural, internal rewards system. A little less romantic.
The insula is found in the cerebral cortex (gray matter, outer layer that insulates most other parts of our brains) and at the base, in between the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe(this one is behind the forehead). Straitum is located in the forebrain. The forebrain is located as the front most base of the brain, further back than the frontal lobe and more level with the eyes. This area is connected to our central nervous system and is considered to be the major output of signals for it.
Love and desire are activate in two different areas of the striatum. The part that is turned on by desire are also activated by things we enjoy naturally, like eating and sex. The second area, turned on by love has also been mapped for as a internal rewards system. Our brain's way for rewarding us for good behavior. This part of the brain, strangely enough, is also associated with drug addiction. Pfaus explains "Love is actually a habit that is formed from sexual desire as desire is rewarded. It works the same way in the brain as when people become addicted to drugs."
What does this all say about love and desire in our brains? What does this say about our conscious choices in the development of our relationships? Are we just chemical chain reaction? a biological being enslaved by deep reactions in that happen as a microscopic level in our brains? The parts of our brain connected with pleasure are associated with desire. While parts of brain linked to love is more connected with conditioning good behavior. Over time, as sexual desire develops beyond lust it moves and triggers a new part of the brain. It can't explain why we love who we do, who we are attracted to but it does say something about the strong bonds we create with our loved ones.