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The science of falling in love - Shannon Odell


6,126 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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Love is often described as heartwarming, heart-wrenching, or even heartbreaking— and your brain is responsible for all these feelings. The journey from first spark to the last tear is guided by a symphony of neurochemicals and brain systems. Shannon Odell explores what happens in your brain when you fall in love, how it responds to a relationship, and how it reacts to a breakup.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

The Anatomy of Love is a blog run by a neuroscientist and a biological anthropologist. You can find quizzes, articles, and learn how people study love and why it matters. 

Getting Dumped

Check out this video about heartbreak to learn about what our brain does when we feel rejected. This essay is adapted from the book, The Little Book of Heartbreak and shares where the pain from getting dumped comes from and what it’s good for. 

Interestingly, some people are affected by breakups more than others. Read this article to find out why. (Hint: part of it has to do with whether or not people believe that personality is fixed or constantly changing.) 

More About Love 

To explore why we crave love so much, and why we are even willing to go to extremes for it, check out Helen Fisher’s TEDTalk as she tells the story of her research on love, the brain, and the individuals she and her team studied. Or you might be interested in what The Anatomy of Love blog has to say about where love can be found in the brain and the body. 

This fascinating, three-minute NPR clip is about the faithfulness of prairie voles (a mouse-like rodent), and about what we can learn about bonds, love and affection by studying animals.  

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Shannon Odell
  • Director Biljana Labović
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Storyboard Artist Wing Luo
  • Animation Supervisor Amarello Rodrigues
  • Lead Animator Murilo Jardim
  • Animator Philip Piaget, Ouros Animation, Viktoria Binder Knudsen
  • Rotoscoping Direction Ouros Animation
  • Actor Giorgos Chatzellis, Emilio Elmowy
  • Art Director Nuri Keli, Ouros Animation
  • Sound Designer Weston Fonger
  • Composer Samuel Bellingham
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Shannon Odell
  • Science Consultant Lucy L. Brown

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