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Why We Love: The Nature And Chemistry Of…
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Why We Love: The Nature And Chemistry Of Romantic Love (2004 original; edició 2005)

de Helen Fisher

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A study of the origins of love probes the human brain for insights into the origins of the sex drive, romance, and attraction, while offering advice on how to channel these desires into healthy pursuits.
Títol:Why We Love: The Nature And Chemistry Of Romantic Love
Autors:Helen Fisher
Informació:Owl Books (2005), Paperback, 320 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:Psychology, Love

Detalls de l'obra

Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love de Helen Fisher (2004)

  1. 00
    The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values de Sam Harris (tyomero)
    tyomero: Anyone unfamiliar with recent research on neurobiology can find many interesting facts, most of the time counterintuitive.
  2. 00
    Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex de Mary Roach (bragan)
    bragan: It's specifically about sex, rather than love. But it's also a much better book.
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Es mostren totes 5
This is woman who has loved and love and then seriously asked "why". It isa an academic research project on the fMRI assisted research into the neurology of loving. Compare it to Burnett's book: Happy Brain
  brendanus | Apr 11, 2019 |
I was led to this book after watching Helen Fisher’s 2006 TED talk entitled “Why we love, why we cheat.” Both the talk and the book are largely based on Fisher’s study, begun in 1996, of students at SUNY Stony Brook campus, in which the brain activities of two groups of volunteers were scanned in an MRI. One group reported to be deeply in love, while the other had recently experienced painful breakups. As one would expect, the book contains more details about the study, not provided in the TED talk, as well as additional facts and ideas.

Unfortunately little of the additional material qualifies as ground-breaking or transformative. Even the additional details about the central study do little to strengthen the author’s arguments. There is plenty of information about the experiment’s setup, but much of it assumes a rather banal character and, while perhaps mildly entertaining, is not revelatory. More troubling, the 144 brain scans mentioned by the author in her TED talk turn out to be derived from merely 14 individuals – 11 women and 3 men, all college students. Although I cannot authoritatively claim that this sample size is too small or too homogenous – much time has elapsed since my college statistics course – yet I cannot avoid a feeling of suspicion that too much is being made of too small a study.

What’s more, the numbers derived from the study are at times less convincing than the author would have us believe, hinting at a confirmation bias. For example, only 56% of the surveyed women agreed with the statement “My emotional state depends on how _____ feels about me”, yet this is given as further evidence of the author’s hypothesis. This is not a solitary example – on multiple occasions percentages in the low sixties, fifties, and even forties are unreservedly advanced to prove the author’s points, which aim at a generalized understanding. Overall the book seems to lack coherence and reads more like a loose collection of research abstracts, ideas, factoids, and quotes – lots of quotes, which are largely lyrical musings about the nature of love.

Throughout the book, the author also shows a strong proclivity for speculation, seemingly mistaking it for theory. A theory by definition must be falsifiable, yet the author commonly uses the word to refer to what is plainly untestable conjecture, which I think is impermissible in a scientist. Unsurprisingly, the chapter most heavenly laden with such “theorizing” is the one on the evolutionary origins of love. Such speculation may be intelligent, intriguing, and entertaining, but it is not strictly scientific.

Perhaps, my biggest gripe with the book though is the conclusion the author draws from her research. A good percentage of “Why We Love” is devoted to convincing us that romantic live is inherently a neurochemical addiction, not at all dissimilar from alcohol, tobacco or methamphetamine addictions either behaviorally or in its effect on the brain’s neurological pathways. In fact, this is the strongest part of the book, and the reason for my three-star rating. The presented evidence is indeed strongly in favor of the hypothesis. So, after spending so much ink proving to us that romantic love displays all the classic characteristics of a chemical addiction, what does the author propose that we do with this information? She proceeds to give us tips on how to manipulate individuals into developing romantic attachments and make romantic love last longer! Pause to consider the incongruity. This is a rational response only if one believes that the rewards of an addiction are worth the costs, and maybe the author performed the mental comparison, but if she did, she never shares these deliberations with us. As a result, the last part of the book seems oddly disconnected from the first, with the gap bridged by undisclosed value assumptions.

To recap, the book contains enough interesting ideas and data to stimulate thinking but fails to weave them into a coherent theoretical framework or a transformative narrative. Aside from monetary motivations, I am hard pressed to find reasons why this should not have been a TEDBook or a Kindle Single. ( )
  starfury | Apr 24, 2013 |
This book got off on the wrong foot with me right from the beginning. I found the first two chapters -- on the "symptoms" of romantic love as exemplified by literature and poetry and on behaviors that look like love in animals -- to be shallow, overgeneralized, and far too willing to present anecdotes as if they were evidence. Things got a bit better in chapter three, where Fisher started talking about hormones, brain chemistry, and her own fMRI experiments on people in love. But most of the rest of the book was oversimplified and overly speculative. Particularly problematic were the discussions of gender differences; this is an interesting and valid topic, but more often than not it's impossible to tell whether Fisher's assertions on the subject are based on science or stereotype. And to top it all off, she throws in a chapter full of insipid self-help advice at the end.

All in all, a fairly disappointing take on what ought to be a fascinating subject. ( )
  bragan | Jul 1, 2010 |
fantastic book - should be read in conjunction with the assorted other sex/love self help book around - even if it is just for the wonderful bibliography of love poems she quotes from the mirriad cultures aroudt he world.
  Brumby18 | Sep 30, 2009 |
Aquesta ressenya ja no es mostra perquè diversos usuaris l'han marcada com a abús de les Condicions d'ús (mostra-la).
  knol | Dec 25, 2007 |
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A study of the origins of love probes the human brain for insights into the origins of the sex drive, romance, and attraction, while offering advice on how to channel these desires into healthy pursuits.

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