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The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction
     

The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction

4.0 2
by Larry Young
 

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A neuroscientist and journalist offer a revolutionary model of desire, sex, love, and family.

Since the dawn of humanity, we've been mystified by desire, love, and the compulsion to bond with others. How do we fall in love, and back out again? What accounts for the variation in the ways people express love, and toward whom? What force keeps

Overview

A neuroscientist and journalist offer a revolutionary model of desire, sex, love, and family.

Since the dawn of humanity, we've been mystified by desire, love, and the compulsion to bond with others. How do we fall in love, and back out again? What accounts for the variation in the ways people express love, and toward whom? What force keeps people together, and, if it's so powerful, how can anybody ever cheat?

With award-winning journalist Brian Alexander, neuroscientist Larry Young peers inside the living brain to discover how chemicals acting on circuits drive such seemingly complex behaviors. It turns out that on a molecular level, love is not so mysterious after all. The authors explain the mechanisms behind emotional bonding, physical attraction, jealousy, infidelity, and the very essence of what it means to be human.

Young and Alexander offer nothing less than a grand unified theory of love, sex, gender, sexual orientation and family life that's sure to prove both enlightening and controversial.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Combine a first-class neuroscientist like Young, director of Emory University’s Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, and an award-winning science journalist like Alexander, and the result is likely to be an engaging book about cutting edge science. They do a wonderful job of mixing and matching human studies with those of other animals to explain how chemicals influence and, at times, control behavior associated with sex, love, and longing. They document, for example, how minor genetic differences between meadow voles and prairie voles lead to striking differences in mating strategies. Prairie voles, like humans, form stable pair bonds, but, the authors note, significant “extra-marital” vole sex regularly occurs—it just doesn’t lead to “divorce.” Although Young and Alexander take an exceedingly reductionistic view of human behavior, explaining how the addition of exogenous chemicals can decrease trust or increase both aggression and feelings of love, they are careful not to conclude that humans are without free will. The only drawback to this fine book is a certain glibness in the authors’ attempts at humor. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
A pop-science analysis of the complex brain chemicals behind lust and love. Why do we drunk-dial our exes? Why do strippers make more money when they are ovulating? Why do fools fall in love? These are some of the questions explored by Young (Psychiatry/Emory Univ.) and journalist Alexander (America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction, 2008). The authors argue that the causes are related to the potent, sometimes irresistible, chemical cocktails our bodies produce. In interviews with scientists of all stripes (psychiatrists, neuroscientists, researchers), Young and Alexander examine their ideas and how they pertain to us, often illuminating their explanations with funny, and sometimes raunchy, anecdotes. One researcher studying leeches described the male leech as "the icky guy in the bar hitting on every female," while a neuroscientist studying the links between smell and sex in rats joked that a female rat became "the major party girl" during an experiment. Some animal lovers may be disturbed by the occasionally flippant tone describing some gruesome lab experiments--e.g., "it turned out shooting electricity into cat brains just gets you angry cats." The authors' analysis of the differences between male and female brains suffers from this glib attitude as well, but the book is sure to hook even casual science readers with its subject, because, as Young and Alexander point out, "the combination of erotic desire and the love it leads to may be the most powerful force on earth." An entertaining overview of the science of physical attraction.
From the Publisher
"Combine a first-class neuroscientist like Young, director of Emory University’s Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, and an award-winning science journalist like Alexander, and the result is likely to be an engaging book about cutting edge science. They do a wonderful job of mixing and matching human studies with those of other animals to explain how chemicals influence and, at times, control behavior associated with sex, love, and longing."
Publishers Weekly

"Why do we drunk-dial our exes? Why do strippers make more money when they are ovulating? Why do fools fall in love? These are some of the questions explored by Young (Psychiatry/Emory Univ.) and Alexander (America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction, 2008). The authors argue that the causes are related to the potent, sometimes irresistible, chemical cocktails our bodies produce. In interviews with scientists of all stripes (psychiatrists, neuroscientists, researchers), Young and Alexander examine their ideas and how they pertain to us, often illuminating their explanations with funny, and sometimes raunchy, anecdotes... the book is sure to hook even casual science readers with its subject, because, as Young and Alexander point out, “the combination of erotic desire and the love it leads to may be the most powerful force on earth. An entertaining overview of the science of physical attraction."—Kirkus Reviews

“This lively book by a great neuroscientist and a savvy writer is the first popular account to tie together what we have learned about the chemistry of sex, love, and family bonds. Progress in this field has been nothing short of breathtaking, and Larry Young is recog­nized as its leading pioneer. The way our brains react when boy meets girl determines the stability of marriage and the future of the human family.”

—FRANS DE WAAL, C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and author of The Age of Empathy

“…One wild and entertaining ride. The prose in The Chemistry Between Us is lively and fun – and provides a fresh and unapologetically pointed analysis on what understanding the neurobiological correlates of love may mean for both our relationships and our culture.”

Kayt Sukel, New Scientist
 

“If you’ve ever been curious—and let’s face it, we all have—about the intricate dance of biology and behavior that both brings men and women together and pushes them apart, then The Chemistry Between Us is the book for you. Authors Larry Young and Brian Alexander explore questions as gentle as parenting and as edgy as sexual addiction with consistent style, humor, and insight. The result is a story that’s fun, fascinating, and, finally, insightful.”

—DEBORAH BLUM, Pulitzer Prize winner; author of Sex on the Brain, Love at Goon Park, and The Poisoner’s Handbook

“Nothing fascinates us more than why we fall in love and what makes us choose that par­ticular person. The Chemistry Between Us sheds light on just this mysterious phenom­enon with a thorough look at the neuroscience and psychology of the process. Whether you have a desire for better intellectual understanding or a personal curiosity as to why you or your partner do what you do, this book is a super-enjoyable class in love, sex, and all its dark mysteries. A fascinating and stimulating read!”

—GAIL SALTZ, MD, NBC Today show contributor and clinical associate professor of psychiatry, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

“Dr. Young is one of the science world’s most respected authorities on the chemistry un­derlying the most complicated and beloved interactions of our species. The insight and candor he and Mr. Alexander provide in this simultaneously entertaining and compel­ling book will impress both novice and scientific aficionado alike. What an intellectually and emotionally satisfying exploration!”

—MAYIM BIALIK, PhD, CLEC, actress on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and author of Beyond the Sling

“You may not need this book in order to meet the love of your life but if you are head over heels in love with someone this book will go a long way toward telling you what has hap­pened in your head and body to make this so.”

—ARTHUR CAPLAN, PhD, William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty professor and head of the Division of Bioethics, NYU Langone Medical Center

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591845133
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
09/13/2012
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.13(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Combine a first-class neuroscientist like Young, director of Emory University’s Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, and an award-winning science journalist like Alexander, and the result is likely to be an engaging book about cutting edge science. They do a wonderful job of mixing and matching human studies with those of other animals to explain how chemicals influence and, at times, control behavior associated with sex, love, and longing."
Publishers Weekly

"Why do we drunk-dial our exes? Why do strippers make more money when they are ovulating? Why do fools fall in love? These are some of the questions explored by Young (Psychiatry/Emory Univ.) and Alexander (America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction, 2008). The authors argue that the causes are related to the potent, sometimes irresistible, chemical cocktails our bodies produce. In interviews with scientists of all stripes (psychiatrists, neuroscientists, researchers), Young and Alexander examine their ideas and how they pertain to us, often illuminating their explanations with funny, and sometimes raunchy, anecdotes... the book is sure to hook even casual science readers with its subject, because, as Young and Alexander point out, “the combination of erotic desire and the love it leads to may be the most powerful force on earth. An entertaining overview of the science of physical attraction." —Kirkus Reviews

“This lively book by a great neuroscientist and a savvy writer is the first popular account to tie together what we have learned about the chemistry of sex, love, and family bonds. Progress in this field has been nothing short of breathtaking, and Larry Young is recog­nized as its leading pioneer. The way our brains react when boy meets girl determines the stability of marriage and the future of the human family.”
—FRANS DE WAAL, C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and author of The Age of Empathy

“…One wild and entertaining ride. The prose in The Chemistry Between Us is lively and fun – and provides a fresh and unapologetically pointed analysis on what understanding the neurobiological correlates of love may mean for both our relationships and our culture.”
Kayt Sukel, New Scientist

“If you’ve ever been curious—and let’s face it, we all have—about the intricate dance of biology and behavior that both brings men and women together and pushes them apart, then The Chemistry Between Us is the book for you. Authors Larry Young and Brian Alexander explore questions as gentle as parenting and as edgy as sexual addiction with consistent style, humor, and insight. The result is a story that’s fun, fascinating, and, finally, insightful.”
—DEBORAH BLUM, Pulitzer Prize winner; author of Sex on the Brain, Love at Goon Park, and The Poisoner’s Handbook

“Nothing fascinates us more than why we fall in love and what makes us choose that par­ticular person. The Chemistry Between Us sheds light on just this mysterious phenom­enon with a thorough look at the neuroscience and psychology of the process. Whether you have a desire for better intellectual understanding or a personal curiosity as to why you or your partner do what you do, this book is a super-enjoyable class in love, sex, and all its dark mysteries. A fascinating and stimulating read!”
—GAIL SALTZ, MD, NBC Today show contributor and clinical associate professor of psychiatry, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

“Dr. Young is one of the science world’s most respected authorities on the chemistry un­derlying the most complicated and beloved interactions of our species. The insight and candor he and Mr. Alexander provide in this simultaneously entertaining and compel­ling book will impress both novice and scientific aficionado alike. What an intellectually and emotionally satisfying exploration!”
—MAYIM BIALIK, PhD, CLEC, actress on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and author of Beyond the Sling

“You may not need this book in order to meet the love of your life but if you are head over heels in love with someone this book will go a long way toward telling you what has hap­pened in your head and body to make this so.”
—ARTHUR CAPLAN, PhD, William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty professor and head of the Division of Bioethics, NYU Langone Medical Center

Meet the Author

Larry Young is the Director of the new Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, William P. Timmie Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine, and Division Chief for the Division of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatric Disorders at Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

 

Brian Alexander is the author of several books including Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion (Basic Books) and America Unzipped: The Search for Sex and Satisfaction (Crown/Harmony). He's been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and recognized by Medill School of Journalism's John Bartlow Martin awards for public interest journalism, the Association of Healthcare Journalists, and other organizations. Brian has written for many magazines, newspapers and websites including the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Esquire, Outside, Wired, Details, Self, National Geographic Adventure, Science, Slate, Huffington Post and many more. He has served as contributing editor at Wired and Glamour magazines, and been a columnist and frequent contributor at msnbc.com. He has appeared on national radio and television including NPR, Charlie Rose, ESPN, the Today Show, CNN, and others.

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The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
popscipopulizer More than 1 year ago
*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief . wordpress . com, on or before Monday, October 1. Love and sex play a central role in the human drama. But when we talk about the emotions and decisions that we make in connection with these things, we mostly remain strictly at the macro level, referring to people, and relationships, and our freely made choices. However, in their new book 'The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction' social neuroscientist Larry Young and journalist Brian Alexander contend that our biology and chemistry play a much bigger role in love and sex than most of us ever acknowledge. Young explores everything from gender identity (and sexual orientation), to romantic relationships (and parenting), to monogamy (and adultery), taking us inside our bodies to investigate the genes and hormones that influence our approach to love, sex and relationships. While the focus here is on us humans, the evidence comes not only from our own species but from a host of other animals that exhibit similar biology and behavior. As we might well expect from a book co-written by a scientist and a journalist, the work delves deep into the technicalities of the science that is discussed, while at the same time mixing in a large measure of anecdotes and humor. The result is a book that is scientifically sound, while at the same time being highly readable and entertaining. On the negative side, while the authors do touch on the evolutionary reasons behind the phenomenon and mechanisms that are discussed, a more developed exploration of this would have added greatly to our understanding of the material. A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief . wordpress . com, on or before Monday, October 1; a podcast discussion of the book will be available shortly thereafter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago