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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us Hardcover – January 5, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the vein of Stephen Pinker's The Language Instinct, scientist Kirshenbaum examines one of humanity's fondest pastimes. Divided into three parts, the book covers the evolutionary and cultural history of the kiss, the chemistry of kissing, and the future of kissing. In part one, "The Hunt for Kissing's Origins," Kirshenbaum examines the role kissing played in the Middle Ages--a businesslike kiss was employed as a legal way to seal contracts and business agreements. Many men did not know how to read and write, so their signature X was kissed to make it legal. Part two, "Kissing in the Brain," will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about the chemical properties of butterflies in the stomach. Kirshenbaum writes just as gracefully about prostitutes in pop culture as she does the myriad of complicated biological and chemical processes that science uses to explain osculation. Part three, "Great Expectations," covers Kirshenbaum's personal attempt to further investigate the kiss and leaves a long list of fascinating questions that demand further research. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

What’s the big deal? You pucker up, and there you are—right? Turns out there’s a lot more to kissing than you might think. For instance, you never forget your first kiss isn’t just a sappy sentiment; it’s apparently quite literally true, and the fact that we remember more details about that first kiss than about our first sexual experience speaks volumes about the nature of memory. Men and women kiss differently; that’s also true, but you might be surprised to learn why. Why is kissing important to some human societies, and unimportant—just plain foreign—to others? University of Texas research scientist and Discover magazine blogger Kirshenbaum draws on psychology, biology, history, and other disciplines in this highly engaging, highly informative book. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (January 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446559903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446559904
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book and was very excited when the release date was moved up. I had expected to enjoy it (I've read other works - long and short- by Kirshenbaum and liked them), but did not expect her newest release to be so engaging (I dont personally study this type of stuff, so wasn't sure if it would keep my attention). I'm happy to say that it was GREAT! Overall - I definitely give it 5 stars. The book kept my attention and interest from cover to cover. I learned a lot - and enjoyed the process.

When I sat down to read it after Christmas, I had thought to thumb through 20 or 30 pages, but found myself anxiously turning beyond 50.... 100.... 200... until I was done. Couldn't wait to see what the next page would hold. As I read, I laughed (quoting "The Princess Bride" at the onset is a good way to do that), learned (did you know that humans generally remember their first trip to 1st base better than their first trip to home?), and cringed (eating apples from armpits - trust me. Ick!). The book even touched on "Twilight"-inspired "kissing" behaviors from a scientist's point of view (interesting).

The book was a fun cruise through the history and present status of kissing in different cultures, groups and species - in the context of scientific studies on what kissing does to us, and why me continue to do it.

Great for those of us who like to learn about new topics, from a scientist/historian's point-of-view - but also want a work that is engaging, and not dry. Definite 5 stars!
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Format: Hardcover
It gives no pleasure to give this book a bad review; the last book she (co)wrote was very good and I enjoy reading her blog. Nonetheless, I can't recommend buying this book. It was very thin in substance and length. The science of kissing, as the author (I believe it's p.197) herself admits, is still in its infancy. Maybe in 5 years or so there will be more to write about the subject of kissing.
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Format: Hardcover
Everything you ever wanted to know about kissing but were afraid to ask. It has sections on the history, psychology, physiology and meanings behind that act. This is a fascinating books filled with facts that are formed into a comprehensive and enjoyable book. My favorite section is on the physiology which also covers germs and how your body has learned to react to a kiss. Fans of Mary Roach are truly going to enjoy this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't you wish they taught this class in high school? The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us by Sheril Kirshenbaum is the kind of science book I love to read: fascinating, fun, informative, and highly readable for the layperson. Kirshenbaum covers almost everything about this titillating subject. It's not too technical for the nonscientific crowd, but with enough depth across a broad spectrum so by the end I felt very educated about kissing. And people, real-world, personal research in this subject (which I am happy to participate in) can always be enhanced with some investigatory reading.

"A romantic kiss does nothing less than set off an avalanche of biological activity. During a passionate kiss, our blood vessels dilate; more oxygen is routed to the brain; our breathing quickens and becomes erratic; our cheeks flush; our pulse quickens; our pupils dilate; dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and adrenaline levels spike, leaving our bodies awash in a chemical bath. In short, our biology seem to be hardwired to make kissing extremely pleasurable and, to some degree, addictive."

The Science of Kissing covers historical and cultural origins of kissing (do you know that there is a place in the Cook Islands where the men have an average of 1,000 orgasms a year yet do not engage in any form of romantic kissing?); the physiological and neurological, not to mention the emotional and psychological, responses when we kiss; kissing experiments; why we tilt our heads to the right when we kiss (nothing to do with being left or right-handed); a chapter on "cooties"; and much, much more.

But the education doesn't stop there; at the end, Kirshenbaum gives you 10 tips for better kissing. This isn't your average Cosmo article; these are tips from a scientist! Who's researched the field extensively! If for nothing else, you gotta read The Science of Kissing for this invaluable part.
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Format: Hardcover
I had to giggle after reading, in the intro, the author talking about how discussing the scientific aspects of kissing and sexual relations won't kill any allure... Well, I was with her until, in the first chapter she starts talking about how a woman's facial lips are her "genital echo". That imagery, though! It was however interesting to read that the fullness of a woman's lips is said to be an indicator of her estrogen levels & reproductive ability. Guess my mom can blame these thin lips she gave me on her not seeing any grandkids yet :-P But wait, she has thin lips... hmm.

So basically this quick little read (209 pages on the hardback edition) is an extension of a magazine article (or maybe it was a blog post?) the author wrote on this topic. It got so much feedback and so many questions were posted to her that she decided to get more in depth with it, not only looking at what modern scientists have to say on the subject of kissing & copulation, but also the topic as it's been addressed in historical texts. Kirshenbaum also looks at how our actions are mirrored by animals in the wild and what that might mean. In one instance, she focuses on a study done on bonobos, as research has shown that their DNA is a 98.7% match to humans. There are other topics covered that had me cringe-laughing, such as the bit on Gore-Tex implants (whaaa?!), A.I. robots being specifically designed with sexualized programming so that they can reply to you like an actual partner might -- you know, if you're just ready to throw in the towel with the human race altogether, lol -- and the real science behind the childhood idea of "cooties".
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