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Read the science behind the love bug this Valentine’s Day
by Terri Schlichenmeyer
Feb 12, 2012 | 1258 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain” by Judith Horstman c.2012, Jossey Bass, $25.95 / 242 pages, includes index
“The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain” by Judith Horstman c.2012, Jossey Bass, $25.95 / 242 pages, includes index
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Your telephone is your new best friend.

That’s because it’s the direct line between your ear and the voice of the one with whom you’ve fallen in love. Your phone is never far away because keeping it close lets him whisper endearments, share her thoughts or spill secrets.

Your telephone rings, you smile. It pings, and so does your heart.

You’re twitterpated, no doubt about it. But what else is going on inside that lovestruck head of yours? Find out in “The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain” by Judith Horstman.

Throughout human history, a lot has been written about love: getting it, having it, keeping it and how you feel when it’s gone. Most of that focuses on love and the heart, and though there’s no denying that love physically affects a body, amour really has more to do with the brain.

Like your heart, your brain can be partitioned into four main sections, each with a different function: controlling language, planning, thinking and imagining. When you’re in love, all four areas of your brain work together to sort out what you’re feeling, but overall the emotional part is “in charge.” That’s why you can’t think straight while falling in love: Your thinking brain is overruled.

Why ever would we bother with something that can cause so much kerfuffle?

As it turns out, our brains are hard-wired for love and companionship. We literally can’t live without it, in fact, and will go so far as to “mirror” the body language of our object of affection in order to create a “mind-reading fail-safe for connection.” That’s definitely good, but it can also lead us into temptation.

So what can you do about this thing called love?

Not much, as it turns out. Your sexual preference was determined before you were born and your “love map” was established in infancy by the people who parented you (or didn’t). Your gender affects the way your brain works; then hormones, your other senses and kaisses just complicate things to make you goofy in love.

And if you’re really lucky, you get to be like that for the rest of your life.

Ever look at your beloved and wonder why? We all have, I think, and “The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain” explains a lot.

From our parents to our children, secret crushes to all-out lust and beyond, author Judith Horstman breaks down leading scientific knowledge into easy-to-understand information, but I particularly liked that this book is so encompassing: Horstman loads us up on neurology — the main focus here — but she doesn’t forget how love affects us at home, at friends’ homes or in the nursing home. I also found it very interesting to see a chapter on the brain and loving one’s God.

Whether you’ve found “the one” or you’re still looking, I think you’ll like this lively, fun, browseable book. For any brain hooked on l’amour, reading “The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex, and the Brain” is a good call.
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