Wed, 23 February 2022

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

Why We Love – The New Science Behind Our Closest Relationships

Dr Anna Machin

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Evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin is here to forever change the way we think about ourselves, our relationships, and what it means to be human.

For most of us, love is the most important emotion in our lives. What can the latest science tell us about the myriad ways that human beings love – and how it shapes our health, happiness, and the course of our lives?

In this entertaining and accessible exploration of love, Oxford anthropologist Dr Anna Machin will dive into the science behind the myriad types of love that exist in the world, including romantic love, parental love, friendships, love for pets, football teams, religious love and even love for our smartphones.

Drawing on Anna’s original research including a study of the roles for dopamine, beta- endorphin and oxytocin in our closest relationships, which involved taking saliva samples from people at festivals, and on a wealth of original interviews including with polyamorous couples and people who identify as asexual, this livestream talk will encourage you to reconsider the importance of love in your own life, to interrogate your own experiences, and to reconnect with the heart of what it means to be human.

Praise for Anna Machin’s Why We Love:

‘Even though it is what makes the world go around, we have trouble describing love except as a warm feeling. Anna Machin offers a lively guide to the many kinds of human love that exist, and the biology and psychology that explain why we love the way we do’ – Frans de Waal

‘Love is surely the single most all-encompassing emotion we experience. This book opens the Pandora’s Box on this most complex and puzzling aspect of what it is to be human’ – Robin Dunbar

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Dr Anna Machin

Evolutionary Anthropologist

Dr Anna Machin is an Evolutionary Anthropologist.  She studied Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and University College London before gaining her PhD from Reading University in 2006.  Following this she joined the Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group, headed by Professor Robin Dunbar, at the University of Oxford, where she pursued her work on the science and anthropology of close human relationships.