Philematology-The science of Kissing

The science of kissing. Sounds like a study that I might have concocted in my college days, except back then it would have been funded solely by me. 😉

At the risk of ruining my reputation I’ll concede that a good kiss has always influenced my decisions. In fact one kiss changed my life, but that is not a story to be told now.

“the practice of kissing is nearly universal. It is practiced in at least 90 percent of cultures among sexual or romantic partners, experts say. Now, scientists are investigating the biological factors underlying that ubiquitous expression of love.

The science of kissing even has a name: philematology. Research on the subject was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Friday.

“Kissing is not just kissing. It is a major escalation or de-escalation point in a powerful process of mate choice,” said Helen Fisher, professor at Rutgers University and author of the book “Why Him, Why Her: Finding Real Love by Understanding Your Personality Type.

A study by Gordon Gallup Jr., professor of psychology at the University of Albany, showed that 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women reported that after feeling attracted to another person initially, the attraction ended after the first kiss, Fisher said.

Looking at a sample of more than 1,000 college students, Gallup and colleagues found that women also tend to emphasize kissing more than men, and are much more likely to insist on kissing before a sexual encounter.

A person receives information about the person he or she is smooching by locking lips, Fisher said. A kiss transmits smells, tastes, sound and tactile signals that all affect how the individuals perceive each other and, ultimately, whether they will want to kiss again.

Women tend to be attracted to male partners with a different immune system makeup from their own, Fisher said. They subconsciously detect information about a partner’s immune system through smell during kissing, she said.

Research led by Wendy Hill, professor of neuroscience at Lafayette College, looked at how kissing affects the hormones oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone,” which is associated with social bonding, and cortisol, a measure of stress.”

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