The couple were separated when the war ended. Rosa became pregnant and died in childbirth. They were never reunited. Horace eventually married and moved to Spain. In 2008, Mr Greasley’s moving story was turned into a book called Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell? There are now reports that Hollywood stars Robert Pattinson and Alex Pettyfer have been lined up to play him in a film.
Clearly, Horace put his life – and most likely Rosa’s as well – in danger a significant number of times. He certainly would have been killed, if not tortured, had his escapes in and out of the concentration camps been discovered. Why, then, would he continue to do it? What is it about being in love that makes us make bad decisions? Are we truly, crazy in love?
The literature on romantic relationships shows that our brains do in fact react differently when we are in lust and in love.
We get high, and (disclaimer – here’s a bad joke) addicted to love
Researchers have found that the specific areas of the brain that are involved in attraction are the same areas of the brain association with addiction cravings, specifically the structures linked to cocaine craving and addiction. These structures utilize the neurotransmitter dopamine, and are also associated with reward and motivation. It is believed that this helps to explain why when rejected, heartbroken lovers turn to behaviors such as stalking, homicide and suicide.
Our hormones go haywire
The neurotransmitter dopamine has already been mentioned as being related to reward and motivation. Dopamine enhances feelings of euphoria and pleasure, which is why we like being in love, which makes break-ups and heartbreaks – and an absence of these positive feelings - so difficult to get over.
Levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin decrease when we are in love, causing us to feel anxious and jittery.
Levels of the hormone, adrenaline, increase, leading to sweaty palms, a racing heart and dry mouth in the presence of someone we love.
We can't feel pain
The nucleus accumbens is the region of the brain that is activated by drugs such as opioids and cocaine. When these drugs are used, this region helps the individual to feel less pain. This same structure is activated when in love, yielding the same analgesic effects. Other research has supported this claim by showing that people report being in less pain while looking at a photo of a loved one, or holding a loved one’s hand. The authors of this particularly study quote that this finding explains “why a mother can apparently give instant comfort to a poorly child by "kissing it better".
Our brains stop working
The two proceeding paragraphs discuss brain structures that become activated when we are in love; research also shows that several areas of the brain become deactivated and shut down when you are looking at or thinking about a love interest. Certain areas of the brain are believed to deactivate, most likely for biological purposes. According to the authors of this article, individuals are more likely to mate and reproductive if the area of the brain controlling judgment is temporarily suspended. Additionally, individuals are more likely to feel that “everything is right in the world” and that “nothing can go wrong” when they are in love, as the areas in the brain related to fear and negative emotions also tend to be inactive.
We can’t focus
Research shows that our ability to concentrate and focus on everyday tasks, such as work and schools, becomes significantly impaired when we are in love.
Men take risks, and women love them for it
Research shows that men are willing to engage in risk-taking behavior when a potential love interest is involved. The authors of this study believe that men’s risk-taking behavior is related to men’s evolutionary needs to attract a mate, and that even behaviors seemingly unrelated to love, such as reckless driving, are viewed as enhancers to their reputation, and as such, enhance their ability to attract a mate. The same has not been found for women, however, it was found that women are more attracted to the men engaging in risky behaviors.
We have a preference for the color red
Studies have shown that the color red enhances a woman’s attractiveness. In one study, men were asked to judge the sexual attractiveness of both a young (age 24) and older (age 48) woman standing in front of a white or red background. The background color had not effect on perceived sexual attractiveness for the older woman, but the younger woman standing in front of a red background was viewed as being significantly more sexually attractive than younger woman standing in front of the white background. Other studies support this finding, claiming that when a woman wears a red shirt – as compared to green, blue or white – men perceive her as being more attractive, as well as having more sexual interest.
See the picture below to see how various parts of the brain are affected by love: