I recently read an article on the Scientific American on “Why we kiss” and it is interestingly controversial. Fortunately, it does address some of the common questions I’ve heard before and hence, this might be interesting enough to read on a sunday afternoon.

One of the first questions that is answered is “Why do we do it ?”

Excerpt from the article:

Whatever else is going on when we kiss, our evolutionary history is embedded within this tender, tempestuous act. In the 1960s British zoologist and author Desmond Morris first proposed that kissing might have evolved from the practice in which primate mothers chewed food for their young and then fed them mouth-to-mouth, lips puckered. Chimpanzees feed in this manner, so our hominid ancestors probably did, too. Pressing outturned lips against lips may have then later developed as a way to comfort hungry children when food was scarce and, in time, to express love and affection in general. The human species might eventually have taken these proto-parental kisses down other roads until we came up with the more passionate varieties we have today.

Well, that makes a lot of sense. I believe that a lot of the actions we perform are deeply influenced by what animals did out of survival which later became acts of luxuries and a part of social behavior itself. So I’ll leave this at that.

Another interesting quote from he article is as follows:

“Kissing,” said evolutionary psychologist Gordon G. Gallup of the University at Albany, State University of New York, “involves a very complicated exchange of information—olfactory information, tactile information and postural types of adjustments that may tap into underlying evolved and unconscious mechanisms that enable people to make determinations … about the degree to which they are genetically incompatible.” Kissing may even reveal the extent to which a partner is willing to commit to raising children, a central issue in long-term relationships and crucial to the survival of our species.

There are few other interesting tidbits of information about how human sensory organs behave and the reactions of the brain during a kiss. Useless, but fascinating nonetheless.

Well anyway, at the end of the day, it really does not matter what these studies come up with for results. Since perceptions are averaged over thousands of people and there is a high probability that me or you do not perceive like any of them or the person you kiss, all you can do is read it and move on 🙂