- Helen Fisher (anthropologist)
Helen E. Fisher (born 1945) is an
anthropologyprofessor and human behavior researcher at the Rutgers Universityand is one of the major researchers in the field of romantic interpersonal attraction. [Fry, Rae (1999). [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/helthrpt/stories/s49793.htm Health Report – Biology of Love] – National Radio ] [Fisher, Helen (2006). [http://www.theswartzfoundation.org/mind-brain-2006.asp The Biology and Evolution of Romantic Love] - Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture Series, 10th Annual Lecture, March 27.] [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/love/ The Science of Love] – BBC News, Nov, 18 (2004).] Prior to becoming a research professor at Rutgers University, she was a research associate at the American Museum of Natural Historyin New York City.
By many accounts, Fisher is considered the world’s leading expert on the topic of love. [ [http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/relationships/what_does_love_mean.htm Doctor of Love] - flatrock.org] Presently, Fisher is the most referenced scholar in the love research community. In 2005, she was hired by [http://www.match.com match.com] to help structure the [http://www.chemistry.com chemistry.com] pair-matching website using both hormonal-based and personality-based matching techniques. She was one of the main speakers at the 2006 and 2008
TED (conference). [ [http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=h_fisher Video] of Helen Fisher's talk on gender, sex and love at the TED Conference. Presented February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration 23:39]
In 2004, anthropologist Helen Fisher, in her ground-breaking book, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love", proposed the humanity has evolved three core brain systems for mating and reproduction:
lust- the sex drive or libido.
attraction- early stage intense romantic love.
#attachment - deep feelings of union with a long term partner.
Love can start off with any of these three feelings, Fisher maintains. Some people have sex with someone new and then fall in love. Some fall in love first, then have sex. Some feel a deep feeling of attachment to another, which then turns into romance and the sex drive. But the sex drive evolved to initiate mating with a range of partners; romantic love evolved to focus one's mating energy on one partner at a time; and attachment evolved to enable us to form a pairbond and rear our young together as a team.
Fisher discusses many of the feelings of intense romantic love, saying it begins as the beloved takes on "special meaning." Then you focus intensely on him or her. People can list what they don't like about a sweetheart, but they sweep these things aside and focus on what they adore. Intense energy, elation, mood swings, emotional dependence, separation anxiety, possessiveness, physical reactions including a pounding heart and shortness of breath, and craving, Fisher reports, are all central to this feeling. But most important is obsessive thinking. As Fisher says "Someone is camping in your head."
Fisher and her colleagues have put 49 men and women into a brain scanner to study the brain circuitry of romantic love: 17 who had just falling madly in love, 15 who had just been dumped, and 17 who reported that they were stillin love after an average of 21 years of marriage. One of her central ideas is that romantic love is a drive that is stronger than the sex drive. As she has said, "After all, if you casually ask someone to go to bed with you and they refuse, you don't slip into a depression, commit suicide or homocide--but around the world people suffer terribly from romantic rejection."
Fisher also maintains that taking certain antidepressants can potentially dampen feelings or romantic love and attachment (as well as the sex drive).
Both men and women use physical attractiveness as a measure of how 'good' another person is. Men often tend to value attractiveness more than women.Fact|date=October 2007 In
fMRIbrain scans published in 2004 by Rutgers Universityevolutionary anthropologist Helen Fisher, in the early intense stages of falling in love, there were clear differences in male and female brains [cite book | author=Fisher, Helen | title=Why We Love – the Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love | publisher=Henry Holt and Company | year=2004 | id=ISBN 0-8050-6913-5] . Men, on average, tended to show more activity in two regions in the brain: one was associated with the integration of visual stimuli, and the second was with penile erection. Conversely, women in these early stages exhibited increased activity in several regions of the brain associated with memory recall. Fisher speculated the evolutionary source was in the need for females to identify males whose behavior over time suggested they would help the female raise her offspring. However, in terms of behavior, some studies suggest little difference between men and women. Symmetrical men and women begin to have sexual intercourse earlier, have more sexual partners, engage in a wider variety of sexual activities and have more casual sex.
In 2006, her MRI research, which showed that the
ventral tegmental areaand the caudate nucleusbecome active when people are madly in love, was featured in the (February) National Geographiccover-page article: "Love - the Chemical Reaction"."
Four personality types
Fisher distinguishes between four personality types each of which she associates with a body chemical. [Caravanos, Adelle. (2006). “ [http://www.nyas.org/snc/update.asp?UpdateID=42 Love: What’s Science Got to do with It?] – Anthropologist Helen Fisher has a new theory about the chemical roots of romance.” "Science & the City – Webzine of the New York Academy of Sciences". Feb. 12.] The corresponding
Platonic term - as Fisher identified the types herself - can be seen in parentheses:
* explorer (artistic) -
* negotiator (intuitive) -
* director (reasoning) -
* builder (sensible) -
Neil Clark Warren
* [http://anthro.rutgers.edu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=177&Itemid=136 Helen Fisher - University Faculty Page] Rutgers University
* [http://helenfisher.com/ Helen Fisher - Website]
* [http://www.whatischemistry.com/about/about-dr-fisher-interview.php#10 Interview with Helen Fisher] (2006) - about her role in the development of the pair-matching site [http://www.chemistry.com Chemistry.com]
* [http://chemistry.typepad.com/the_great_mate_debate/dr_helen_fisher_1/index.html Helen Fisher Blog]
* [http://quotes.zaadz.com/helen_fisher Helen Fisher Quotes]
* [http://philosophytalk.org/pastShows/MarriageandMonogamy.html Radio interview] on Philosophy Talk
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4856626310862753252 Short Lecture/talk she gave at TED Conferences called "The science of love"]
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