The Science of Love

The Science of Love

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1118397657

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A scientific exploration of some of humanity's most puzzling questions: What is love? Why do we fall in (and out) of love? And why would we have evolved to feel something so weird, with so many downsides?

Whether you live for Valentine's Day or are the type to forget your wedding anniversary, love is, quite simply, part of being human. In The Science of Love, renowned evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar uses the latest science to explore every aspect of human love. Why do we kiss? What evolutionary benefit could there be to feeling like you would die for your mate? If love exists to encourage child-bearing and child-rearing, why do we love until death do us part (and beyond)? Is parental love anything like romantic love? Dunbar explores everything science has discovered about romance, passion, sex, and commitment, answering these questions and more.

  • Draws on the latest scientific research to examine the many aspects of love—passion, commitment, intimacy, hugging, kissing, monogamy, cheating, and more—and explain why we have evolved to behave as we do
  • Filled with fascinating insights into specific human behaviors and experiences, from the European air kiss on both cheeks to the phenomenon of love at first sight
  • Written by Robin Dunbar, a prominent anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist whose work have been featured in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and many other books





















faces, half of them male and half female, all posed with a neutral expression. Those who had had the oxytocin spray rated the faces as more trustworthy and more attractive than those who had had the placebo control. Who said romance was dead? And this perhaps explains why a good sniff of a strong perfume or aftershave close up can sometimes turn your head. Ae fond kiss? But smell is only as good as a washed body. Smells can be masked, not just by ladling on Givenchy’s latest, but also, in the

same moral values (and/or religion), having a similar level of education/intelligence, and having being born in (or, at least, grown up in) the same area. The more of these five traits you share with someone, the greater is your emotional closeness to them, and the more likely you are to help them out in time of need. These traits seem to be strictly additive: none of them is more important than any of the others, and it doesn’t matter too much which combination of traits you share. Sharing, say,

of pairbonded behaviour, and this allows us to gain some insights into the likely evolutionary origins of romantic relationships. In the first case, for example, the pairbond is really only in the male’s interest, since it doesn’t matter too much to the female whom she mates with so long as she mates with someone. This being so, we would expect the male to be the one who works hardest at maintaining the relationship, because he has most at stake if the female wanders off and mates with another

The need to find a protector must have become overwhelming. Quite where in this sequence the system would have flipped from conventional chimpanzee-like promiscuity into bonded dyads remains uncertain, but the digit ratio data suggest this didn’t happen until quite late on, perhaps as late as the appearance of anatomically modern humans some two hundred thousand years ago. Did we have an intermediate step with gorilla-like polygamy? Somehow I doubt it, because our ancestors never developed the

activity, fitness, abdominal obesity, and cardiovascular risk factors in Finnish men and women: the national FINRISK 2002 study. PhD thesis, Helsinki University. Brown, W. M., Cronk, L., Grochow, K., Jacobson, A., Liu, C. K., Popovi, Z. & Trivers, R. (2005). Dance reveals symmetry especially in young men. Nature 438: 1148–50. Coetzee, V., Perrett, D. I. & Stephen, I. D. (2009). Facial adiposity: a cue to health? Perception 38: 1700–11. Daly, M. & Wilson, M. (1982). Whom are newborn babies said

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