The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction

Larry Young and Brian Alexander. Penguin/Portfolio, $26.95 (TKp) ISBN 978-1-59184-513-3
 Combine a first-class neuroscientist like Young, director of Emory University’s Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, and an award-winning science journalist like Alexander, and the result is likely to be an engaging book about cutting edge science. They do a wonderful job of mixing and matching human studies with those of other animals to explain how chemicals influence and, at times, control behavior associated with sex, love, and longing. They document, for example, how minor genetic differences between meadow voles and prairie voles lead to striking differences in mating strategies. Prairie voles, like humans, form stable pair bonds, but, the authors note, significant “extra-marital” vole sex regularly occurs—it just doesn’t lead to “divorce.” Although Young and Alexander take an exceedingly reductionistic view of human behavior, explaining how the addition of exogenous chemicals can decrease trust or increase both aggression and feelings of love, they are careful not to conclude that humans are without free will. The only drawback to this fine book is a certain glibness in the authors’ attempts at humor. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/25/2012
Release date: 09/13/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-1-59184-661-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4690-2429-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4690-2431-8
Show other formats
Discover what to read next