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The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain: The Neuroscience of How, When, Why and Who We Love Hardcover – December 27, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This basic introduction to the neuroscience of love and sex is a good starting place for readers new to the subject...one hopes it will whet readers' appetites for more nuanced explorations of this area of research." (Library Journal, April 2012)

From the Inside Flap

Who do we love? Who loves us? And why? Is love really a mystery, or can neuroscience offer some answers to these age-old questions?

In her third enthralling book about the brain, Judith Horstman takes us on a lively tour of our most important sex and love organ and the whole smorgasbord of our many kinds of love—from the bonding of parent and child to the passion of erotic love, the affectionate love of companionship, the role of animals in our lives, and the love of God.

Drawing on the latest neuroscience, she explores why and how we are born to love—how we're hardwired to crave the companionship of others, and how very badly things can go without love. Among the findings: parental love makes our brain bigger, sex and orgasm make it healthier, social isolation makes it miserable—and although the craving for romantic love can be described as an addiction, friendship may actually be the most important loving relationship of your life.

Based on recent studies and articles culled from the prestigious Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines, The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain offers a fascinating look at how the brain controls our loving relationships, most intimate moments, and our deep and basic need for connection.

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Read a list (pdf) of five things love does for your brain from the book's author.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470647787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470647783
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author



Judith Horstman is an award-winning journalist who writes about health and medicine. She has been a Washington correspondent, a journalism professor, a Fulbright scholar, and has written and edited in just about any medium including newspapers, newsletters, special health publications, radio, video, the Internet, annual reports and books.

Over the past four years she has written four popular neuroscience books in collaboration with Scientific American:
"The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain"(2009)
"The Scientific American Brave New Brain" (2010)
"The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain"(2011)
"The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain (May 2012)

She and her aging brain live in California near her children and grandchildren, and travel as widely and often as possible. She is a frequent public speaker and a writing coach and is available for interviews, talks and workshops. Email her at info@judithhorstman.com

More about author and educator Judith Horstman:
Her journalism career spans 40 years, from a small-town newspaper, The Ithaca Journal, to USA Today and Gannett News Service in Washington, D.C. In 1986, she was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. From 1988 to 1994, she taught journalism at Keene (N.H.) State College, Oregon State University, Santa Clara (Calif.) University, and in Budapest, Hungary, where she was awarded back-to-back Fulbrights to set up the American Journalism Center and lecture at universities throughout Eastern Europe. While living in Hungary, she wrote the text to a book of photographs by Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Tamás Révész, "Open Air." (http://www.revesz.net/americanwest.html)

She has edited health articles and books for TIME Inc. Health, including "Dr Koop's Self Care Advisor," worked as an editor and writer for the Stanford University Medical Center News Office, and written for the Harvard Heath Letter and Johns Hopkins' White Papers. She was a consultant and editor for a website dedicated to ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis) that she helped establish; and contributed as an editor, consultant and writer to a website on lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE).

Ms. Horstman has practiced meditation and yoga for more than 40 years, and is known for her expertise in describing complementary therapies. For many years she was a contributing editor for Arthritis Today, the magazine of the Arthritis Foundation, for which she wrote the well-regarded book, "The Arthritis Foundation's Guide to Alternative Therapies." She has been a Tai Chi student of Dr. Paul Lam, who is the co-author of "Overcoming Arthritis," a 2002 book on complementary therapies and Tai Chi for arthritis. (http://www.taichiproductions.com/secureshop/product.php?ProductID=252)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By LeapYearGirl on January 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Fans of Judith Horstman's previous Scientific American books ("Day in the Life of Your Brain" and "Brave New Brain") will recognize her easy conversational writing style in her latest offering, an engaging exploration of the neurobiology of love. The book is structured into short digestible sections centered around specific topics such as "The Chemistry of Love," "How Love and Sex are Good for Your Brain" and questions like "Can Meditation Make you a Better Lover? and "Can the Brain Predict Betrayal?" The author has a journalist's knack for asking intriguing questions and then presenting the answers with just enough depth for a reader who wants to learn about actual scientific findings without having to decipher technical scientific jargon. There is a glossary and color illustrations which are helpful, but this is not one of those books where you need to constantly consult the glossary to understand what's going on. There are lots of references to popular books, movies, songs, and other pop culture references that provide useful examples and illustrations for many points. Some of the most interesting sections in the book deal with how Facebook is changing our relationships and the benefits of a loving bond with your pet. This book deals not just with romantic love, but the love of parents for their children, friendship, love of pets, and even love of God are discussed. If you enjoy other Scientific American publications, give it a try. It will make you wonder why we use the heart as a symbol of love when the brain is so intimately associated with every kind of love.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Communic8or on January 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Judith Hortsman takes us into the mysterious world of love, sex, and our brains with wit, wisdom with her trademark skilled writing style. She leads the reader on an amazing journey, explaining the effects of love from the moment we draw breath and gaze into our mother's eyes to the screaming hormones of adolescence and beyond to our adult years, using a combination of biological research, documented human reaction, and life experience only a seasoned writer could express. This book is a definite keeper. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who is curious about what REALLY makes the world go 'round.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robin Macdonald on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a most extraordinary book as it so clearly explains the connection between what we think we want and what our bodies respond to. I wish it had been available years ago.

Robin MacDonald
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ann Crew on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This third in her series of brain books once again shows how Judith Horstman can make a complex subject completely available to the non-neuroscientist. The book is informative and enjoyable to read. I never realized how much our brains control our feelings of love--all kinds from parental to partners to pets, and God too. I hear there is another of these books in the offing. I look forward to seeing it in print.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Margaret Cochran on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Judith Horstman on my internet radio show, 'Wisdom, Love and Magic'. Our topic of conversation was her latest publication, 'The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain'. Now I am someone who is a self confessed neuroscience 'geek' and I found her book to be a wonderful read. It is thoroughly researched, extremely well written and an excellent translation of current thought and findings in the field. She has an amazing talent for breaking down difficult topics into easy to digest 'concept bites' all without being condescending or skimping on the 'tech talk'. I strongly encourage you to read this book and frankly anything else Ms. Horstman has written. 'Sex, Love and the Brain' is full of insight and information, and insight and information is what allows us to be personally powerful and to move forward in our lives in a constructive way. Your brain will thank you for it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By whimsy on January 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Judith Horstman has consistently written books that deal with important subjects in a clear and entertaining voice. Her latest - "The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain" raises the bar.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ray_ka_r on April 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is the neuroscience of love? Judith Horstman posits this intriguing question and she focuses on explaining how a feeling of love associated with various bodily sensations begins within the brain. The biological functions related to love and sex sensations can be accurately observable by the various advances in neuroscience field and brain imaging technologies.

Horstman's book offers easy to read science. This text is a collage of informative analyses of various types of love showing to the reader how these inner and personal sensations can be analyzed from a neuroscience point of view. She also makes an attempt to define and critically analyze types of love such as the romantic (obsessive) love, the unconditional, and religious types of love, and the "cyber love"--the Internet dependency on images, sexually driven websites, and pornography. For example, in chapter nine of the book, Horstman writes: "Technology, Science, and the Future of Sex," she writes: "In his 1973, film Sleeper, Woody Allen predicted that people of the future won't bother to get all sweaty and personal for sex: they'll just step into an Orgasmatron where (presumably) a pleasure center in the brain will be stimulated by signals that zap just the right spot..... it is not so far-fetched, since we know stimulation form electrodes implanted in the brain can produce orgasms."

Horstaman is a reporter with an ability to present complex information with accuracy supported with enthralling visuals, evidences, and case studies that support each chapter's topic.
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