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The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, And The Science Of Attraction (2012)

by Larry Young(Favorite Author)
3.86 of 5 Votes: 5
1591845130 (ISBN13: 9781591845133)
Current Hardcover
review 1: The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction by Larry Young PhD, Brian Alexander"The Chemistry Between Us" is a fascinating look at social neuroscience. Neuroscientist Larry Young in collaboration with journalist Brian Alexander provides readers with the underlying brain mechanisms behind how we behave in relation to others. This revealing 320-page book includes the following nine chapters: 1. Building a Sexual Brain, 2. The Chemistry of Desire, 3. The Power of Appetite, 4. The Mommy Circuit, 5. Be My Baby, 6. Be My Territory, 7. Addicted to Love, 8. The Infidelity Paradox, and 9. Rewriting the Story of Love?Positives:1. A well-written, accessible page-turner of a book.2. The science behind social behavior is a fascinating topic. Young has a great com... moremand of the topic and is not afraid to admit that there is still much to be learned.3. The authors are not afraid to have some fun with this edgy topic. Science mixed in with well-crafted narratives and a touch of humor to boot.4. The book starts off with an eye-opening case study, "machihembras" (first woman, then men).5. The organizational hypothesis plays a prominent role in this book. "But nature itself experiments with animals and with people, and those experiments have yielded powerful evidence to support the organizational hypothesis that gender behavior is built into our brains by the actions of hormones." It's worth reading again.6. The book is loaded with cognitive dissonance causing findings and statements. The joy of a true skeptic is to entertain such findings and make the best of it. "If you look at the sex organs, you cannot make a conclusion about the direction the brain has taken."7. A look at the chemicals that greatly influence the way we behave. In many respects this book is about the chemistry of the brain. "All this supports the idea that human females experience estrus, that it is not hidden, and that, at ovulation, a fertile woman's brain drives her to behave in a way that will maximize her chances of mating with the fittest, and most accessible, male she can find. Men, in turn, respond with higher testosterone, which helps motivate them to engage with desirably fertile women."8. The influence of drugs. "Cocaine and amphetamines can greatly enhance sexual motivation because they stimulate the release of large amounts of dopamine. Simply doing a lot of mental work can loosen the reins."9. A look at reward-based preference. "The brains of psychopaths can release up to four times more dopamine in response to appetitive cues, such as money, than those of most people."10. An interesting look at the basics of maternal behavior and the importance of mother-infant bond. "Mothers are driven to mother by their brains, and the culture of motherhood merely builds itself around nature."11. The empathy circuit. Great stuff! "Studies have proven that oxytocin, and brain sensitivity to oxytocin, enhances the ability to accurately read faces." It explains why some people are blind to contextual clues caused by a lack of empathy.12. The importance of faces to women. "King admits it's tough to generalize, but one thing most women agree on is that, while bodies and body parts are welcome, faces are vital."13. Prairie voles as a key to understanding human behavior. "Social memory was one of the first ingredients of vole love to be explored in humans through the use of intranasal oxytocin. While rodents rely mostly on scent to distinguish a familiar individual from a stranger, we depend more heavily on our eyes. We use our eyes in combination with social memory to decide if the person we're seeing is a friend from work, our husband, or our mother, and we also use these tools to divine other people's moods and intentions."14. Some troubling conclusions. "This leads to the somewhat disturbing conclusion that for men, sex, love, and aggression are inextricably mixed in the brain."15. A man's "territory". "Of course, we're not arguing that a woman is literally her man's territory; we're contending that his bond to her engages neural systems that originally evolved for regulating territorial behavior. Neither are we suggesting that this is the only component of a man's bond to a woman. But the territorial urge plays an important role." "Aggression is a social act. It informs others that boundaries--personal or physical--should not be crossed. It tells others that "this is mine.""16. The parallels of drug addiction and love.17. An interesting look at infidelity. The Coolidge Effect. "It's too early to start calling D4 a "cheating" gene or to say that people with lower levels of D2 receptors would make lousy spies because they'd be too susceptible to a Mata Hari. But while the close-up view may be fuzzy, the big picture is increasingly clear."18. Bonus tidbit. "Roman Catholic priests were often married men until the First Lateran Council of 1123, when the church declared: "We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, subdeacons, and monks to have concubines or to contract marriage. We decree in accordance with the definitions of the sacred canons, that marriages already contracted by such persons must be dissolved, and that the persons be condemned to do penance." One of the reasons for this injunction--along with the old admonition against carnal pleasure--was Rome's fear that offspring would inherit church properties. Priests were "married" to mother church. It would brook no competition. Nuns had to remain celibate because they were married to Jesus. Any other relationship would be, in effect, adulterous."19. A look at society and love. "But culture doesn't create gender--it reflects it."20. Comprehensive bibliography included.Negatives:1. No notes.2. Lack of visual material to complement the excellent narrative.3. There was one statement I have a mild disagreement on. "You can't civilize our biology out of us." I love the quote but I think it needed to be expanded on. Nurture in fact can alter or modify our behavior but I do understand the intent behind the statement."In summary, this book was what I like to call cognitive dissonance-inducing brain candy. It was enlightening and a lot of fun to read. I've come to the conclusion that the neuroscience of gender and sexual preference is an important area of study and merits increased sponsorship. Book clubs rejoice this is a fun book to discuss. I highly recommend it!Further recommendations: "The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain: The Neuroscience of How, When, Why and Who We Love" by Judiith Horstman, "This Is Your Brain On Sex: The Science Behind the Search for Love" by Kayt Sukel, "Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin" by Loretta Graziano Breuning, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love" Helen Fisher, "Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships" by Christopher Ryan, "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature" by Matt Ridley, "Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution Of Human Sexuality (Science Masters)" by Jared Diamond, "Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect" by Mathew D. Lieberman, "The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force" by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, and "Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil" by Paul Bloom.
review 2: What is love? Author Larry Yong might define love as this: Oxytocin and Vasopressin are released, dopamine trickles into the nucleus accumbens..you are motivated to make a pass. What is resisting a fliration? the prefontal cortex communicating with the Amygdala, ventral tegmental area, and acumbens to say "cut it out." 3 stars. Looking at love from a neuroscience perspective is somewhat depressing as it reduces something so special into neurochemical reactions, activating receptors, and genetic predispositions. less
Reviews (see all)
Super interesting take that kind of confirms my skepticism about the unlikelihood of monogamy.
Incredibly interesting / eye opening book. I think I will be digesting this one for a while.
Fascinating book. A must-read for anyone who is interested in human beings.
So many interesting tidbids and areas of research
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