Love: The Biology Behind the Heart, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


The Biology Behind the Heart, 1st Edition

By Anthony Walsh


318 pages

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Love is a little word with a universe of meanings and has engaged people's interest throughout human history. The need to give and receive love lies deep within human nature. Philosophers, poets, theologians, sociologists, and scientists have all attempted to explain its exact origin, but is it an evolutionary adaptation, or a social construct?

Walsh discusses that the nature of and need for love has biological origins. He draws upon Darwin's sexual selection theory to define the perceptions of love by infants through the process of experience-dependent brain wiring. He observes that mother love makes a child capable of loving and that father love makes a child feel worthy of love. He appraises the origin and purpose of romantic love in his discussions on sexual reproduction by looking at chemical and neurological responses to love and the influence of love on one's physical and mental health.

With frequent quotes from literary masters like Shakespeare to orient one's scientific and humanistic understanding of love, Walsh goes on to explore various styles of romantic love, including monogamy, promiscuity, bartering love, and betrayed love; the effects of a skewed sex ratio on dating and mating practices; and the age-old quest for a perfect society populated by perfect people obeying the biblical command to "love one another."

Table of Contents




1 What Is This Thing Called Love?

2 Love as a Gift of the Gods: The Yearning for Oneness

3 The Human Brain and Love

4 Mother Love and Darwin's Sexual Selection Theory

5 Touching Hearts; Touching Minds

6 Father Love: The Right Hand of the Equation

7 Lovelessness and Lawlessness

8 Love and Physical Health and Illness

9 Mental Health and Illness

10 Self-Love: The Basis for Love of Others

11 Romantic Love: Its Origin and Purpose

12 The Chemistry of Romantic Love

13 Love Styles: How Do You Love Me?

14 Monogamy and Promiscuity

15 Love as Exchange and Barter

16 Ecstasy and Agony: Love and Betrayal

17 Loving by the Numbers

18 Expanding the Circle: The Ethics of Universal Love



About the Author

Anthony Walsh is a professor of criminal justice at Boise State University. He received his Ph.D. in criminology from Bowling Green State University in 1983. Walsh worked as a marine, merchant seaman, police officer, and probation officer before entering academia at the age of 44. He teaches criminology, statistics, philosophy of law, and correctional assessment and case management, and is widely published, with more than 40 books and 150 articles on a variety of topics including criminology and biosocial aspects of crime.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Marriage & Family