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Studying the chemistry of love and science of attraction

By Dana Goldman | Emory Report | Feb. 14, 2013

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In "The Chemistry Between Us," neuroscientist Larry Young explores the chemical brain changes behind the forms of human love.

Want to talk about love? "Let's first talk about lust," says Emory neuroscientist Larry Young. "There's a lot of chemical changes that are happening in the brain and people's behavior change dramatically." Connecting the brain to behavior one of Young's big research interests, and lust is one of the topics covered in "The Chemistry Between Us: The Chemistry of Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction" (Current Hardcover 2012).  

In the book, co-written with journalist Brian Alexander, Young delves into why people cheat in relationships and the chemistry behind the maternal bond, also showing the ways that early life experiences actually change brain development. He also explores different ways people can enhance relationships and change the brain through different behaviors.  

Young hopes readers will better understand their brain and their relationship impulses, and he also holds hope that such understanding could have societal implications someday soon. "Understanding the chemistry of social relationships will help us develop new therapies and treatments for diseases like autism and schizophrenia," he says, "where there really is a disruption in the ability to form those relationships."  

 

Listen to Larry Young discuss his new book, "The Chemistry Between Us," and read an excerpt detailing experiments that begin with rats and lead to human subjects:

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