It’s time to talk about “love.” We hear lots of songs about summer love, or how love springs eternal, but you rarely ever hear about falling in love in the fall! Yet, science suggests autumn is the most affectionate season of all. That’s according to anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, who wrote the book Why We Love.
First, Dr. Fisher says there is a uniqueness about fall, that comes from the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and the rituals of carving pumpkins or trick-or-treating. These “novelties” have been shown to trigger the feel-good chemical dopamine in our brain. That increased dopamine gives us more energy, more motivation, and more optimism, all of which aid in the pursuit of love, because dopamine is the same chemical that gets released when we eat chocolate, win money, or fall in love. So our brains are literally primed to fall in love in fall.
Also, Dr. Fisher points out that testosterone levels – in men AND women – are highest in autumn. In fact, one study showed that a man’s beard grows FASTER in the fall, while it grows slowest in late spring. This extra testosterone boosts concentration, confidence, and feelings of competitiveness. It also subconsciously makes us more attractive, and more attracted, to those around us.
Of course, the cooler weather in fall forces many of us to spend more time indoors with our loved ones. It’s no coincidence that in North America, birth rates tend to peak in August – nine months after the height of autumn! Since babies born in August have a higher survival rate than those born in frigid winter – we have a primal urge to conceive in the fall. All of which, Dr. Fisher says, is Mother Nature’s way of nudging us to fall in love.