During the scans, the students were shown pictures of loved ones or a friend of the same sex and age as the object of their affections.

Seeing a lover prompted activity in four distinct brain regions that were not active when looking at pictures of the friend, New Scientist reported last week. One was a spot in the medial insula, the mysterious central lobe of the brain whose function is still a puzzle.

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Too few butterflies can indicate insufficient excitement to set off the neurological response of chemistry, but too many can spell the doom of blurting out inappropriate words, or worse, saying nothing at all, the silly mistakes that ensue when overcome by too much nervous energy.

The explanation of these behaviors lies in your autonomic nervous system.

Another distinct spot was in the anterior cingulate, part of the brain that is active when people are asked to reflect on their own feelings and emotions.

Mr Bartels is confident that he was measuring brain activity associated with love - and not simply sexual attraction.

Your blood is getting pumped faster and directed into your limbs, rather than your stomach, so you can run faster or be stronger to fight harder, the additional glucose providing a boost of extra energy for your defense.

As a result of the decreased flow of blood to your digestive system, the muscles in your stomach and intestine slow down, putting the brakes on digestion and reducing the amount of oxygen available to this area of the body.

Everyone has at some stage experienced the excitement and the anxiety which produces the flutter of nerves we call butterflies.

Butterflies in your stomach are part and parcel of the dating scene, so let’s take a look at this physical phenomenon.

Designed above all else to make us survive, the brain’s radar is very sensitive to any perceived danger, even if that danger is rejection rather than ingestion by a predator!

So as you answer that phone call, or lean in for the first kiss, the heart and head plunge you into a state of hyper-vigilance, the flight-or-fight response keeps your body primed to respond to the perceived threat.

This physical response is designed to give you a boost at the moments when you need to be at your sharpest, so the key is to harness these belligerent butterflies and make them work for you.