Joe Robles's Reviews > The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us

The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum
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May 30, 11

Read in May, 2011

I really liked this book. It did a good job of getting at the science (or lack thereof) of kissing. It approaches it from a partially evolutionary perspective and explains how both evolution and culture shape the ways we kiss. It also reminded me of how I learned about Evolutionary Psychology. You consider something to possibly be an evolved trait if it meets 3 criteria: 1. occurs across time, 2. occurs across cultures, and 3. occurs across species. Kissing meets these criteria. At times people may not buy her hypothesis about "kissing like" behaviors (nose rubbing, etc), but as an evolved behavior it doesn't seem a stretch and when combined with the species specific examples of actual kissing behavior, her hypothesis is much stronger.

The best part is the call for more research. She participates in a few studies that explore how kissing effects the brain, but much more needs to be done, and new techniques will need to be developed. The future of kissing is also interesting. For instance, how will the internet effect kissing? Television and Movies have already changed how many other cultures kiss (Western style kissing is now prevalent in cultures that didn't have this before the advent of television). Who knows what new technology will bring?

All in all a good quick read. Not too heavy on the science, perfect as an introduction to the science.
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