LONDON: A test that can tell whether you are in love may be closer to reality after scientists have found that several areas of the brain show increased activity in those who are in love.
Researchers from universities in China and New York have obtained the first empirical evidence of love-related alterations in the brain using MRI scans.
The researchers found that several areas of the brain showed increased activity in those who were in love, including in the parts of the brain linked to reward and motivation.
The researchers said their results shed light on the "underlying mechanisms of romantic love" and would pave the way for a brain scan that could act as a 'love test', 'The Telegraph' reported.
Scientists from Southwest University, the University of Science and Technology of China and from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York recruited 100 students from Southwest University in Chongqing, China.
The students were divided into three groups according to their relationship status: an 'in-love' group, comprised of those who were in love at the time; an 'ended-love' group, who had recently ended loving relationships; and a 'single' group, who had never been in love.
Participants were told not to think of anything while their brains were scanned.
Those from the 'in love' category showed increased activity in several areas of the brain, including in parts that deal with reward, motivation, and emotion regulation, as well as in the social cognition network.
The amount of activity in some parts positively correlated with the duration of love for the 'in love' group.
For the 'ended love' group, the longer they had been out of love, the lower the amount of activity detected in these areas of the brain.
The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.