The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction
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Why would a non-scientist be interested in this? It is our job to convey to the public the importance of science, and that means reaching out to the press and communicating with them when we have things that are of public interest.
JPB: In the book you present two parallel hypotheses regarding human bonding: that bonding in females is an extension of maternal behavior; and that bonding in males is an extension of territoriality. Are these hypotheses primarily evolutionary, or do you think they extend into human psychology as well? LJY: They are primarily evolutionary.
In the book we present these as two mechanisms of pair bonding in monogamous animals, and the relevance of this to humans is more speculative.
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In the evolution of new behaviors, what the brain tends to do is tap into systems that already exist for other things and tweak them a little bit. Oxytocin, which is responsible for promoting labor, for ejecting milk when the baby nurses, for maternal bonding to the baby, this same molecule is involved in bonding the female to the male. The same thing is true for males and territorial behavior. JPB: In light of the studies you discuss showing that OT underlies some aspects of maternal care, what do you think of recent work showing an increase in OT in children from administering OT to parents?
LJY: That is really fascinating work that suggests that the engagement of the parents with the offspring can really stimulate the OT system. That stimulation occurs when the mother and baby, or father and baby, are having reciprocal social interactions. That stimulates the OT release, making that social interaction more reinforcing and helping to build social skills and social aptitude. If this data is true and can be replicated, this highlights the importance of engagement of the parents or caregivers with the baby in terms of facilitating the normal development of the social brain.
JPB: In Tristan and Isolde, Wagner said that love is a sometimes-fatal chemical imbalance; and in your book you make the case that love is an addiction. If love is truly an addiction, should we be using preventative medicines when going on first dates?
The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction Reviews
It makes no sense. But the critical thing is that sometimes that crazy thing turns out to be the right thing to do. You meet that special person that you will be really happy with the rest of your life. I would hate for someone to miss out on that because they are afraid of falling in love. JPB: What new research are you performing along the lines of the hypotheses you present in your book?
LJY: One important aspect of our work is not so much about the neurobiology of love but how we can use our knowledge of the chemistry of social relationships to improve social functioning in social cognitive disorders. For example, in autism, schizophrenia, and some other psychiatric disorders, there is an inability to relate to others and an inability to engage in social reciprocity.
We are figuring out how to exploit neurochemistry to improve social functioning and maybe to teach social skills to those who lack them. For example, we are exploring the possibility of combining OT treatment with behavioral therapies so that we can teach social skills to autistic subjects. For example, we are looking at the neurobiology of consoling behavior. When the partner is injured, prairie voles for example will show increased grooming to the partner, maybe to relieve their stress.
There is clearly more to building and maintaining a relationship than simple behaviour stimulated by cocktails of various hormones acting on the brain.
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This book, however, provides an insight into how the chemistry of our bodies can influence our choices. Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
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The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, And The Science Of Attraction
Audio Book CD. How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. Some of the mind-blowing insights include: Love can get such a grip on us because it is, literally, an addiction.