Sheril Kirshenbaum, Grand Central, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-446-55990-4
In the vein of Stephen Pinker’s The Language Instinct, scientist Kirshenbaum examines one of humanity’s fondest pastimes. Divided into three parts, the book covers the evolutionary and cultural history of the kiss, the chemistry of kissing, and the future of kissing. In part one, “The Hunt for Kissing’s Origins,” Kirshenbaum examines the role kissing played in the Middle Ages–a businesslike kiss was employed as a legal way to seal contracts and business agreements. Many men did not know how to read and write, so their signature X was kissed to make it legal. Part two, “Kissing in the Body,” will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about the chemical properties of butterflies in the stomach. Kirshenbaum writes just as gracefully about prostitutes in pop culture as she does the myriad of complicated biological and chemical processes that science uses to explain osculation. Part three, “Great Expectations,” covers Kirshenbaum’s personal attempt to further investigate the kiss and leaves a long list of fascinating questions that demand further research. (Jan.)
Don’t want a nation under the new media, And can you hear the sound of hysteria? The subliminal mindf* America
I just love that Green Day’s American Idiot introduces a short talk I did in July at the Cactus Cafe as part of Science In The Pub. (And the Google Earth zoom in is Tre Cool!) These are informal happy hour events so it’s more of an abridged and casual version of what I do on the road. Great venue and I’m looking forward to joining SITP next February to give another talk on The Science of Kissing!
So what do you think?!
From a noted science journalist comes a wonderfully witty and fascinating exploration of how and why we kiss.
When did humans begin to kiss? Why is kissing integral to some cultures and alien to others? Do good kissers make the best lovers? And is that expensive lip-plumping gloss worth it? Sheril Kirshenbaum, a biologist and science journalist, tackles these questions and more in THE SCIENCE OF KISSING. It’s everything you always wanted to know about kissing but either haven’t asked, couldn’t find out, or didn’t realize you should understand. The book is informed by the latest studies and theories, but Kirshenbaum’s engaging voice gives the information a light touch. Topics range from the kind of kissing men like to do (as distinct from women) to what animals can teach us about the kiss to whether or not the true art of kissing was lost sometime in the Dark Ages. Drawing upon classical history, evolutionary biology, psychology, popular culture, and more, Kirshenbaum’s winning book will appeal to romantics and armchair scientists alike.
The results from the preliminary kissing survey posted here a few weeks back have been incorporated into the design of next week’s cognitive neuroscience experiment in NYC. Follow the research live on Twitter @Sheril_.