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Larry Young's First Book Released Today

September 13, 2012

Dr. Young explains the social behaviors that govern our lives

Media Contacts

Lisa Newbern, 404-727-7709, lisa.newbern@emory.edu

Atlanta – Science finally has the answers to questions such as, “Why does love make us do crazy things?” In The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction, available nationwide today, neuroscientist Larry Young, PhD, and journalist Brian Alexander draw on human stories and cutting-edge research from around the world to flesh out the behaviors that govern our lives, such as physical attraction, infidelity and mother-infant bonding, and explain how our brains exert control over some of the most important and tumultuous decisions and events of our lives. 

Young is the chief of the division of behavioral neuroscience at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, the director of the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience (CTSN) at Emory University and the William P. Timmie Professor of Psychiatry at Emory’s School of Medicine. Co-author Alexander is the author of several books, including Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion (Basic Books) and America Unzipped: The Search for Sex and Satisfaction (Crown/Harmony). He's been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and recognized by Medill School of Journalism's John Bartlow Martin awards for public interest journalism and the Association of Healthcare Journalists.

Their book expands on Young’s well-known research on the social neuroscience of bonding, most famously in voles, that what we call love is really the result of neurochemicals acting on defined brain circuits. They move from that simple premise to profound concepts about gender, sexuality, monogamy, infidelity, lust, parenting and the social and cultural implications of them all.  

They explain the fascinating science behind questions such as:

  • Why is there a female and a male brain – and what does that mean for our understanding of gender and sexuality?
  • What’s the difference in brain chemistry between a woman with a new baby and one with a new boyfriend? (hint: not much)
  • Why do we cheat on our spouses, and are some of us genetically more likely to cheat?

Among those giving advance praise for the book is Frans de Waal, PhD, director, Living Links Center at Yerkes and New York Times best selling author, who says, “This lively book by a great neuroscientist and a savvy writer is the first popular account to tie together what we have learned about the chemistry of sex, love and family bonds. Progress in this field has been nothing short of breathtaking, and Larry Young is recognized as its leading pioneer. The way our brains react when boy meets girl determines the stability of marriage and the future of the human family.”

Via Young’s Yerkes and CTSN research programs, he focuses on understanding the genetic and neurobiological mechanisms underlying complex social behaviors, including social bonding and social attachments. This work has important implications for psychiatric disorders characterized by disruption in social cognition, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Dr. Young and his colleagues not only want to better understand the social brain, they want to develop new treatment strategies for improving social functioning.

The Chemistry Between Us is published by Current, an imprint of the Penguin Group. For more information, visit www.thechemistrybetweenus.com.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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