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Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love Paperback – December 9, 2004
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Barbara Smuts is a professor in the psychology department at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She is author of Sex and Friendship in Baboons (reprinted with a new preface, Harvard University Press, 1999). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Fisher begins by laying out the basic external and internal manifestations of romantic love. What does it do to people? Here she is spot on. It causes us to focus our energy on the beloved, endow that person with special meaning, increases our energy, etc. Most importantly, it causes obsessive, intrusive thinking. We can't go a minute without the object of our desire popping into our head! Now, I am not a betting man, but I am sure everyone can relate to this description.
After describing the basic characteristics of romantic love, Fisher discusses the possible neural underpinnings that cause such intense feelings. She speculates that humans have three different systems: 1)Lust. This is mostly controlled by testosterone. This drive causes one night stands and other stupid behaviors us men seem to excell at. 2) romantic love. This drive is caused by increasing dopamine levels stimulating 'pleasure centers' in the brain. Specifically, the ventral tegmental area, caudate nucleus, and probably the nucleus accumbens. Romantic love probably also involves an increase in norepinephrine and a decrease in serotonin. The last is worth a brief explanation.Read more ›
Anthropologists have long observed that women are "face-to-face" communicators, while men do so "side by side." This means that women are much more comfortable with direct eye contact, which probably has a lot to do with the long history female history of maternal nursing, cuddling, and generally fawning over their infants while staring lovingly into those big baby eyes.
Men, on the other hand, find direct eye contact extremely confrontational on an instinctive level. As Dr. Helen Fisher writes in her remarkable book, Why We Love, "This response probably stems from men's ancestry. For many millennia men faced their enemies; they sat or walked sat by side as they hunted game with their friends."
As a sex therapist I get asked all the time, "How do I talk to my guy about sex without making him defensive?" Now I will offer the advice, "unless you want your words to usher him into battle, use evolution to your advantage, and have a sex-talk while taking a walk or a drive."
Thanks Dr. Fisher for the infinite wisdom that abounds on every page of this remarkable book!
Unfortunately, Dr. Fisher's new book is less a service to science or the public than The Sex Contract. Indeed her books seem to me to be steadily sliding downward from popularization of science to mere popularization. Notwithstanding social scientists' current enthusiasm for brain research, we are still very early in the game. In most respects we don't know the right questions to ask or how to frame them. We rarely know what the answers are like, muchless the details or how they might be translated into practical applications.
Dr. Fisher presents a few facts about neurotransmitters as explaining far more than they reasonably can. There are the obligatory cautions and qualifications but they aren't allowed to get in the way of the story. A great deal of the most careful neuroscience research on bonding and parenting is on mice. Nice little brains, inexpensive to feed, and they are mammals. But their evolutionary solution to mating, having young, and parenting is dramatically different from ours. The adults don't form lasting bonds. They have an amazing number of offspring which require care for only a very brief time, and their young do not have lifelong bonds to the parents. As Dr. Fisher points out in her previous books, humans are dramatically different.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting book. I need it for my class but it is a very good book about the natural of love. It explained a lot of things we did while we are in love with someone. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Valeriel
got this as a christmas present for my boss. she said she loved it so much she finished the book in 1 dayPublished 4 months ago by Constance
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I found it fascinating. It's more a textbook than anything, so I skipped over a lot of the statistics and study information. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Deanne Estrada
Awful book. Horrible grammar, research is not credible, author is just blabbering on. A lot of irrelevant info.Published 9 months ago by Hailey Lawson
Really enjoyed this book, finally a look at the chemistry of love and science behind emotions and attachment. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Fabrizia Cannalonga