Kissing is a big part of every relationship. Find out how a good smooch stimulates the brain!
Read the full transcript »
Male Speaker: So when you do find the right match, I am sure kissing will become a big part of your relationship, and this is for a reason. 90% of the cultures use kissing as a means to not only evaluate your partner, but the way we react to it in our brains is pretty unique. It's different sometimes between men and women, and there's so much involved in it, the senses. Female Speaker: I think you are right about men and women. I think men use it as a means to an end, whereas women use it to sort of pick out a mate, whether it's going to be a good match or not. Male Speaker: I don't know that I agree with that. I think that occasionally -- Male Speaker: Men enjoy kissing. Male Speaker: That can happen, you are right, but not all the time. Male Speaker: Oftentimes there will be an initial attraction between two people, and after the first kiss, a lot of times that attraction goes down, more often than not. You are like ooh, maybe she is not the one. Female Speaker: Yeah, absolutely. Male Speaker: Well, it has a lot to do with good kissing. Good kissing keeps it going though. Female Speaker: Yeah, definitely. Male Speaker: We have clinical psychologist, Dr. Linden, who is Director of The Attention Learning Center, with his partner, sports psychologist, Dr. Ben Strack. In our procedure room they have been putting this kissing theory to the test with our brave couple, James and Sheena. So Dr. Linden, tell us about kissing. Dr. Michael Linden: Well, we are looking at measures of how the brain and body connect, and physiology of the brain that we test and we actually train people at. We are going to look at four measures today. The first one is the temperature, which is the blue measure. The warmer the temperature, the warmer your hands, the more relaxed. The colder, the more stressed you are. The second measure we are going to look at is the purple measure, skin response or GSR, which is a measure of arousal, and relates to the cortisol hormone that relates to stress. And that reacts very quickly. So James, if I have you just think about getting a great kiss, let's see what happens. If you think about getting a really good kiss, you see how that goes up right away. So it's very quick and sensitive. Dr. Strack will tell you about the other measures. Dr. Ben Strack: Now, two additional measures that we look at, that are related to stress, one is muscle tension. So if James shrugs his shoulders with tension; go ahead and do that James, and then relaxed them, we are going to see that muscle tension drop back down. An additional measure, which is probably the most important, is the one up here, that we see a coordination between a blue line, which is his breathing, and also a red line, which is his heart rate. That's called heart rate variability. Now, heart rate variability is associated with more physical and emotional health. So when that's in place, one thing that can enhance it is feelings of closeness, bonding, emotional intimacy, and such. Once we experience those positive emotions, in turn both the brain and the heart releases a positive chemical in the bloodstream called Oxytocin. So we are going to go ahead and see, go ahead and puck her up and kiss him. Now, we are watching what's happening. Right away the skin response goes right up. Dr. Michael Linden: That's the first arousal connection, and after a while we are going to watch how the temperature is getting warmer, so he is feeling more relaxed as he is getting more comfortable with that. Dr. Strack. Dr. Ben Strack: We are seeing a little bit of change in the heart rate and the breathing pattern, just because he is in the process of the kiss. But over time what we might see is, as he falls into more kind of an intimate connection, we would see increases in that heart rate variability. And that's overall just good for the emotional bonding experience and health in general. Dr. Michael Linden: So this is good. So typically we work with couples, and we are measuring when