Top Anthropologists and Cognitive Scientists Explore Love & Sex at Being Human 2013

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2nd annual event in San Francisco examines what’s driving human nature.

Leading scientists and cultural anthropologists will come together on Saturday, September 28 in a conversation on “Love & Sex” addressing the forces driving our love addictions, serial monogamy, clandestine adultery and enduring romantic happiness at Being Human 2013 in San Francisco. The second annual gathering will explore what it means to be human in the 21st century from a variety of scientific, cultural and evolutionary perspectives, and will feature some of the most influential researchers, philosophers, innovators and scholars.

“Love & Sex” will be led by Dr. Helen Fischer, a noted professor of biological anthropology at Rutgers University, who’ll discuss three primary human reproductive drives: the sex drive, romantic love and attachment. Through extensive research of 13 million people in 40 countries, she’s developed her theory that humans have evolved into four distinct personality styles that determine how we choose our mates. Dr. Fischer uses fMRI brain scanning techniques to study people who are happily in love, rejected in love and in love long term. She’ll also examine how global trends are shaping contemporary patterns of sexual behavior, romance and partnership.

“Love & Sex” panelist Dr. Justin Garcia, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University says, “There is little doubt that motivations for love and sex are central to human nature. However, these motivations express themselves differently across the lifespan and in different cultural contexts.” In his talk, he’ll focus on the sexual “hookup” behavior emerging in U.S. adults. “Are these uncommitted sexual encounters signaling the end of human courtship?” he asks. Dr. Garcia will present findings from several of recent studies that demonstrate that sexual hook-ups involve a kaleidoscope of desires, emotions, and reactions. “It’s interesting that given this sexual hookup culture, youth today are expressing strong preferences for romantic relationships.”

“To fully understand how humans relate to one another in the context of romantic relationships, we have to understand the quirks of how we meld with another person and how we process their thoughts and feelings,” noted panelist Professor Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University. “Recently, cognitive scientists have begun to learn more about the unique ways that the human species jumps into the mind of others, but like other new abilities, these processes are not without their bugs.” She’ll join the conversation on “Love & Sex” by sharing her research on one of these newfound processing bugs: our human tendency to automatically conform to others’ beliefs, even when we know those beliefs are false. She'll explore the glitches in this mind-melding machinery and what they mean for relating to one another as romantic partners.

In addition to examining “Love & Sex,” the one-day event taking place in the newly renovated Nourse Theater will also present the latest insights into the “Biology & Psychology of Ethical Behavior,” our understanding of “Human Emotions,” and a look into the “Future of Being Human.” The event is being presented by the Baumann Foundation and is sponsored by KQED, Wikimedia Foundation and the Long Now Foundation.

Tickets to Being Human 2013 and more information on these and other featured scientists are available at http://www.beinghuman.org/2013 .

Suggested keywords: Helen Fisher, Justin Garcia, Laura Santos, Being Human, Love & Sex, The Kinsey Institute, anthropology, evolution, Nourse Theater, Baumann Foundation, Peter Baumann, Ethics & Behavior, Human Emotions, The Future of Being Human

ABOUT BEING HUMAN & THE BAUMANN FOUNDATION

Being Human is an initiative of The Baumann Foundation that fosters an ongoing exploration into the nature of human experience from evolutionary, scientific and philosophical perspectives. By creating environments for learning, connection and conversation, including public and private events, publications and a website, Being Human invites all people to discover a deeper understanding of our human nature. For more information, please visit BeingHuman.org and thebaumannfoundation.org.

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Kevin Sanchez
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