Understanding Emotions and Hormones in Relationships

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When something is sudden and unexpected, onlookers are amused. It is a social mistake and makes the person the center of attention. Feeling empathetic for someone else's embarrassment is a display of care. People are often forgiven for their mistakes because they blush, which makes them feel smaller. Embarrassment peaks during teenage years (pregenual ant. cingulate cortex).


Shame occurs when a person has failed to live up to expectations or has done something morally wrong. Onlookers are angry, and it often involves poor performance or hurting someone's feelings by failing to meet their expectations.


Guilt is the result of failing to perform one's duty, such as lying, cheating, or stealing (Medial prefrontal, visual cortex). It can also stem from neglecting a friend or loved one, or infidelity.


Happiness is influenced by various factors such as DA receptors, endorphins, and contentment. It can manifest as joy, hope, gratitude, awe, flow, humor, schadenfreude, gelotophobia, and contempt.

Love continued:

Studies have shown that a woman's attraction to a man's smell increases when she is ovulating. Ovulation causes women's voices to raise in pitch, their faces become more symmetrical, and they become more sexually inclined.

Aphrodisiacs are substances that increase sexual drive, performance, and blood flow to genitals. Dopamine may help with erectile dysfunction but has negative side effects. SSRIs may inhibit premature ejaculation. Viagra is a medication that releases nitric oxide and helps with smooth muscle relaxation. Alcohol can increase penile swelling at low doses but can inhibit testosterone and damage neurons involved in erections. THC, opioids, and tobacco can initially increase arousal but later limit testosterone. Vasopressin is the predominant hormone in male voles in pair-bonding, while oxytocin is the predominant hormone in female voles in pair-bonding. Oxytocin is a hormone that enhances social context and is released during uterine contractions and lactation.

Prairie voles have a high density of oxytocin receptors in the nucleus accumbens, caudate/putamen, and prefrontal cortex, all associated with reward and reinforcement. Polygamy is portrayed in montane voles, which lack a high density of oxytocin receptors in the nucleus accumbens and caudate/putamen. Male prairie voles display an enhanced density of vasopressin receptors in their ventral pallidum and lateral septal nuclei, while montane voles display a high density in the lateral septal nuclei but diminished density in the ventral pallidum.

Anticipatory stress response:

Invoking it protects humans from the unexpected stress aspect of love and relaxation, allowing the individual to further assess the 'situation' so that this response may be turned off.

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