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Summary

How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. All that mystery, all that poetry, all those complex behaviors surrounding human bonding leading to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make, are unconsciously driven by a few molecules in our brains.

How does love begin? How can two strangers come to the conclusion that it would not only be pleasant to share their lives, but that they must share them? How can a man say he loves his wife, yet still cheat on her? Why do others stay in relationships even after the ro­mance fades? How is it possible to fall in love with the “wrong” person? How do people come to have a “type”?

Physical attraction, jealousy, infidelity, mother-infant bonding - all the behaviors that so often leave us befuddled - are now being teased out of the fog of mystery thanks to today’s social neuroscience. Larry Young, one of the world’s leading experts in the field, and journalist Brian Alexander explain how those findings apply to you.

Drawing on real human stories and research from labs around the world, The Chemistry Between Us is a bold attempt to create a “grand unified theory” of love. Some of the mind-blowing insights include:

  • Love can get such a grip on us because it is, literally, an addiction.
  • To a woman falling in love, a man is like her baby.
  • Why it’s false to say society makes gender, and how it’s possible to have the body of one gender and the brain of another.
  • Why some people are more likely to cheat than others.
  • Why we sometimes truly can’t resist temptation.

Young and Alexander place their revelations into historical, political, and social contexts. In the process, they touch on everything from gay marriage to why single-mother households might not be good for society. The Chemistry Between Us offers powerful in­sights into love, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and family life that will prove to be enlightening, controversial, and thought provoking.

©2012 Larry Young PhD, Brian Alexander (P)2012 Gildan Media LLC

Critic reviews

"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 audiobook 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." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining but overreaching and reductive

Enjoyable however not to be taken too seriously. There are many leaps in logic for the conclusions the authors make. The attempt at humour was at times cringe worthy. Much of the book was rather pretentious.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great book

very interesting and useful content, the narrator also does a great job. amazingly pleasant experience.

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  • Carlos M. Saraiva
  • 27-11-15

Astonishing

Refreshing and captivating narration,
ideas around social practices and cognitive science revealing.
Stories and examples delightful.

Truly great foundation to understand love, relationships and society.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Douglas
  • 11-10-15

Feminists And Marxists BEWARE!!!

Another neuroscience book showing that there IS a human nature, and that it is borne of our brains and their neurotransmitters, that there ARE, in fact, traits of femininity and masculinity, and that they are borne of hormones and chemicals. This will not rest easy with the current politico-social doctrines unencumbered with cares about science or reality, but for those who wish to actually learn something about human nature and gender and how people interact with each other and why--give it a read.

8 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • 25-05-16

Not the best

Very reductionalist and has many themes of paternalism. Many studies cited were influenced by these factors

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 02-06-15

Super Interesting

A little more technical than I thought it would be and sometimes repetitive, but overall I loved it. Gave me so much to think about as far as love, sex, and the fluidity of sexuality.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • MaxTown
  • 14-09-16

These people don't understand gender.

Would you try another book from Larry Young and Brian Alexander and/or Sean Pratt?

No. The book starts off with a single case study to 'prove' that gendered traits are natural. One case study does not equal science.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan
  • 02-07-15

Interesting info, but too much science at times.

Very interesting book about how our chemistry and biology help us to form bonds with others. Lots of comparisons of human behaviors to the behaviors of other animals. The book is best when it is telling stories about real people. But sometimes the book gets a bit bogged down by the details of the science. Maybe some scientist or science students will have an easier time understanding all this science, but to me the discussion often seemed like so much alphabet soup between the acronyms for various neurotransmitters and the acronyms for various parts of the brain. I almost gave up on this book a few times because of all the science, but I'm glad I stuck with it until the end.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful