The Science of Romance: Secrets of the Sexual Brain

The Science of Romance: Secrets of the Sexual Brain

by Nigel Barber
     
 

Have you ever wondered why divorce is so much more common now than a century ago? Why the sex appeal of certain body types and clothing styles changes so dramatically over time? Why so many liberated young women today prefer emotional commitment from men while their male counterparts seem always more interested in "sowing their wild oats"?
According to

Overview

Have you ever wondered why divorce is so much more common now than a century ago? Why the sex appeal of certain body types and clothing styles changes so dramatically over time? Why so many liberated young women today prefer emotional commitment from men while their male counterparts seem always more interested in "sowing their wild oats"?
According to evolutionary psychologist Nigel Barber, each of these aspects of modern life reflects two million years of hominid evolution. In The Science of Romance he explains that much of our present behavior can be traced back to the ancient evolved motives of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In short, we exhibit the behaviors that have evolved over millennia to increase the reproductive success of the species. Also drawing on the mating behavior of various animals, Barber finds illuminating comparisons that help to explain human actions and reactions.
Barber delves into a host of interesting topics: dating competition and aggression; female courtship signals that subtly manipulate male behavior; how exposure to different sex hormones shapes the evolving brain in utero, which may account for the different behaviors of men and women; and much more.
This absorbing book educates and entertains, while showing that many seemingly irrational aspects of our intimate romantic behavior make sense when understood in terms of our prehistoric ancestors and evolution.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Adult/High School-An accessible scientific explanation for sexually motivated behaviors. As Barber states early in the first chapter, "Romance is biology. It serves the biology of reproduction." He then takes readers on an interesting tour of the physiological mechanisms that he suggests dictate our actions. In "Chemistry of Love," for example, he states that the neurotransmitter phenylethylamine (PEA) induces a high similar to cocaine's rush in those enjoying the early blush of romantic love, complete with euphoria, excitement, and reduced appetite, but that the high is destined to fade. However, the production of oxytocin, the so-called "cuddling hormone," in the pituitary gland helps to induce the companionable love of long-term relationships. The format, using interesting anecdotal descriptions to demonstrate the principles, assures the readability of the work. Some of the topics covered include sex signals, dating competition, aggressive behavior of male teens, and marriage. Black-and-white photos illustrate cultural manifestations of sexuality, such as dress styles of the early 20th century. This book is intended for general audiences and is certainly within the grasp of most mature teens.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
An environmental psychologist who escaped the academy, Barber traces sexual behavior among modern industrial humans to reproductive strategies of their hominid ancestors. He discusses physical attractiveness and sex signals, dating competition and aggression, cheating hearts, why marriages fail, and other aspects. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573929707
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.23(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Nigel Barber, Ph.D. (Portland, ME), formerly an assistant professor of psychology at Birmingham-Southern College, is now a freelance writer and researcher, and the author of Why Parents Matter: Parental Investment and Child Outcomes.

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