Scientists say that romantic love enhances global processing and creative thinking (with lower levels of analytical thought) while lust enhances local processing and analytic thinking (but lower levels of creativity). Scientists found that romantic love was also a more powerful motive for increased creativity than money.

Romantic love is associated with long-term goals of attachment. Lust is more about the "here and now" and the desire to engage in sexual activity.

These observations make sense if the neurological nature of love is taken into account. If we take the distinction made by Dr. Helen Fisher author of "Why We Love", she describes love as consisting of three phases; lust, romance and attachment.

When people fall in romantic love the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including pheromones, norepinephrine, serotonin,and elevated levels of dopamine, stimulating the brain's pleasure center. Studies have shown that dopamine receptor genes are linked to the ability for divergent thought resulting in enhanced creativity and feelings of intense romantic love are associated with elevated dopamine activity.

People who are in a state of lust (sexual desire) release chemicals such testosterone and estrogen which are known to promote analytical skills.

The link between love (or at least dopamine) and creativity should not come as much of a surprise. Dopamine can basically be seen as the love neurotransmitter and dopamine dysregulation is the hallmark of all addictions. Artists regularly seek a high from drugs like cocaine, nicotine and alcohol all of which are thought to act through the brain's dopamine system. Presciption psychostimulants like Ritalin enhance creativity by stimulating dopamine production in your brain. Love actually is fundamentally a drive to survive and one could argue that the above artificial means of dopamine enhancement is simply mans attempt to create a faux love experience.

The anticipication alone of a sexual or romantic encounter can lead to an increase in cognitive or creative abilities respectively. These benefits can be realized even when a person actually knows they are not going to "acquire" the object of their love. Fundamentally the "desire" or anticipation of reward is enough to activate the dopamine reward and pleasure centers.

It is important to note that the results of various studies show that the benefits are gender based. In a study by Vladas Griskevicius and colleagues it was revealed that when men thought about a romantic affair, their creativity was increased. For women, however, their creativity was only increased in the condition where they were imagining an affair involving "attachment love"; a long term and committed relationship. From an evolutionary psychological point of view, women have more to risk biologically than men in a short-term affair; they therefore require more assurances of commitment and security before they can experience in the elevated benefits of creative and cognitive functon.