• Question: what is the chemical the brain releases when a person has a crush? and why does one person develop a crush on a person? is there some type of scientific reason for someone to develop a crush. just wondering to be honest. had a few crushes and never understood the brains reaction to loving someone like that. hope that makes some type of sense. :)

    Asked by anon-182875 to Liza, Claire on 29 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Liza Selley

      Liza Selley answered on 29 Jun 2018:

      Love is complicated – so it makes sense that the chemicals that make us fall in love are complicated too! Our body produces molecules called hormones which are the chemicals you are asking about. We can make lots of different types but the important ones for love are made because we have an innate biological instinct to mate and pass on our genes.

      Oestrogen and testosterone drive the first stage of a crush – the lust that you feel for another person. As well as making you feel attraction to someone these hormones also make you seem more attractive. They are responsible for making you flirty, for making women seem more feminine and men more masculine which were the things that our ancestors looked for in a mate – features that made them seem more fertile and therefore able to pass on their genes.

      After the initial lust phase comes attraction which goes a bit deeper than thinking someone is pretty or handsome – you also start to like them at this point and want to spend time together. A combination of hormones drive this part – dopamine the feel good hormone, adrenaline the nervousness hormone and serotonin which drives you to keep thinking about that person. These hormones work together to create feelings of excitement, happiness, nervousness and obsession.

      If your crush develops into a relationship these hormones will be joined by two more… vasopressin and oxytocin which are required during bonding and enhances feelings of happiness when you are with your partner.

      I think it’s nice that so much goes on in the body when you like someone – it goes to show that they are so important to you that even your biology changes. Cute 🙂