Tech UPTechnologyCan you measure the temperature of love?

Can you measure the temperature of love?

Everyone has ever experienced it. Love, of whatever type, causes physiological changes in our body : we turn red, a ‘I don’t-know-what’ rises through our stomach, chills, sweats … falling in love sets off a lot of biochemical circuits that are well studied for years.

In recent years, the Thermography Laboratory of the University of Granada (UGR) has developed a technique that allows measuring the changes that occur in body temperature based on the different components of love: passion, tenderness and social commitment .

In one of their first studies, the researchers recruited sixty healthy people between 24 and 47 years old who, in different sessions in which changes in their basal temperature were recorded, saw photographs of their partners, or had intimate conversations with them . The results revealed changes in the temperature of different areas of the body depending on the type of love that each person was experiencing, and also on the roles adopted in the love game.

Passion is associated with the novelty of the first love contacts, the desire and the search for risk, and it is linked to dopamine, a neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. It establishes an obsessive power game, of cat and mouse, in which there is always a dominant and a subordinate, with terrible discussions and Homeric reconciliations “, explains Emilio Gómez Milan, researcher at the Thermography Laboratory of the Center of Mind, Brain and Behavior Research of the UGR.

The scientist explains, in a press release published by said university, that in dominant passionate people there was a temperature increase of about two degrees in the hands, face, chest and abdomen . On the contrary, in people who adopt the role of subordinate, what is observed is a drop in temperature, a response more similar to that produced by being afraid or cold.


The components of love

According to the triangular theory of love, enunciated by the psychologist Robert Sternberg, love, to be complete, would have three components: passion, intimacy or tenderness and commitment. Over time, almost all couples gain in intimacy and communication: “mutual care and words of love are an antidote to pain or sadness,” explains Gómez. It is a component of love linked to oxytocin and very similar to friendship and empathy.

In this case, ” there is a more reciprocal relationship between both members of the couple, in whom the temperature rises by around one degree in the face and hands, but falls in the abdomen “, indicates the researcher.

Finally, scientists have observed that when only the third component predominates in the relationship, linked to social commitment or mutual interdependence, there are no appreciable changes in body temperature when observing the photograph of the loved one or having intimate conversations with them. ” We are talking about loving relationships of interest, in which one person is with another because they have to pay a mortgage, for example, or because of social prestige, ” explains Gómez.

“These components of love are different from sexual attraction, based on testosterone, where there is sexual promiscuity but the other satisfies our need without being considered special in any way”, concludes the researcher, who also recalls that ” the thermal pattern of love it is very complex ”.

The Thermography Laboratory is also applying its techniques to other fields of psychology. In recent years they have developed a lie detector and have also objectively measured the duende of flamenco dancers.

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