The birds are chirping, bees are buzzing, and spring flowers and spring romance are about to be in full bloom. Love is in the air and everyone is catching spring fever. What causes this sudden upswing in romance? It could be that warmer spring weather puts everyone in a good mood, or at least requires less clothing. It could have something to do with body chemistry, the body’s backlash to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or our physiological response to the abundance of new growth in the world around us.
Spring Fever – Part of a Real Medical Condition
“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” said Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his famous 1842 poem Locksley Hall. But what causes these thoughts of love? According to prominent psychotherapist and researcher Dr. Norman Rosenthal from the National Institute of Mental Health, spring fever is driven by the body’s reaction to its changing environment; a reaction to the increased amount of spring sunlight.
Rosenthal, the first doctor to describe the concept of SAD, said in an interview with the New York Times that as the available sunlight increases – particularly morning sunlight – people who suffer from SAD during the winter months will begin to feel better, even giddy. But is this giddiness spring fever?
Science of Spring Romance
In his book, Mammalian Reproductive Biology, Dr. Frank Bronson, a biologist from the University of Texas, agrees that spring fever in mammals is regulated by sunlight.
Bronson also says there are both direct and indirect photoperiodic cues that increase the amorous air this time of year.
Grossly simplified, the change in season brings more sunlight, better moods, and a better climate for romance in mammals, including humans.
Indirectly, the change in season means plants and insects will begin to flourish again, which has a positive effect up the food chain and creates a healthy environment suitable for procreation.
So whether it’s bright long days, winter finally being over, or fresh spring food that put you in the mood for love, spring fever is out there and you could catch it.
Author: Brendan Purves