Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love (Paperback)
"If you want flashes and particular experiences of romantic love, read novels. If you want to understand this central quality of human nature to its roots, read Why We Love."
—Edward O. Wilson
In Why We Love, renowned anthropologist Helen Fisher offers a new map of the phenomenon of love—from its origins in the brain to the thrilling havoc it creates in our bodies and behavior. Working with a team of scientists to scan the brains of people who had just fallen madly in love, Fisher proved what psychologists had until recently only suspected: when you fall in love, specific areas of the brain "light up" with increased blood flow. This sweeping new book uses this data to argue that romantic passion is hardwired into our brains by millions of years of evolution. It is not an emotion; it is a drive as powerful as hunger.
Provocative, enlightening, engaging, and persuasive, Why We Love offers radical new answers to age-old questions: what love is, who we love—and how to keep love alive.
Dr. Helen Fisher, referred to by Time magazine as “the queen mum of romance research,” is an internationally renowned biological anthropologist and one of the world’s leading experts in the science of human attraction. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, she studies the brain in love. And with her long-standing research, she helped develop one of the fastest-growing online relationship sites, Chemistry.com, a subsidiary of Match.com. Introduced in February 2006, Chemistry.com features the Chemistry Personality Test and Matching System, both developed by Fisher. To date, more than seven million people have taken the test, which is available in forty countries. In addition to serving as the chief scientific adviser for Chemistry.com, Fisher has authored several books and many articles in scientific journals and popular magazines. Her perspective on love, sexuality, women, and gender differences is regularly featured in major news outlets, including The Today Show, CNN, National Public Radio, BBC, and The New York Times. As a research professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, she focuses on the role of biology in human sex, love, and marriage.
Fisher’s widely anticipated book Why Him? Why Her? (Henry Holt and Company; January 20, 2009) proves her scientific hypotheses about why we are attracted to one person rather than another. Why Him? Why Her? follows Fisher’s 2004 book, Why We Love (Henry Holt), which was translated into sixteen languages. It discussed her research on the brain physiology, evolution, and worldwide expression of romantic love. In her 1999 book, The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World—which received the New York Times Book Review Notable Book award and was published in fourteen languages—she discussed gender differences in the brain and behavior, and the impact of women on twenty-first-century business, sex, and family life. Fisher’s other books include Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (1992), also a New York Times Notable Book, with nineteen foreign-language editions; and The Sex Contract: The Evolution of Human Behavior (1982), translated into five languages. Her articles have appeared in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, Journal of Neurophysiology, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, The Journal of NIH Research, Psychology Today, Natural History, New Scientist, The New York Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other journals, magazines, and books.
“Written in a deceptively simple manner, in language that is over nobody's head, Why We Love mixes [Fisher's] new research with prior scientific findings to build a thesis with startling ramifications.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Like the words of a talented lover, Fisher's prose is charming and engaging . . . In hands as skilled as Fisher's, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic.” —Scientific American