Dating site: www.chemistry.com
asks a series of questions and ‘Watching who chooses who to love’ (H. Fisher).
Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes on a tricky topic – love – and explains its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its social importance. She closes with a warning about the potential disaster inherent in antidepressant abuse.
Why you should listen
Helen Fisher’s courageous investigations of romantic love — its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society — are informing and transforming the way we understand ourselves. Fisher describes love as a universal human drive (stronger than the sex drive; stronger than thirst or hunger; stronger perhaps than the will to live), and her many areas of inquiry shed light on timeless human mysteries, like why we choose one partner over another.
Almost unique among scientists, Fisher explores the science of love without losing a sense of romance: Her work frequently invokes poetry, literature and art — along with scientific findings — helping us appreciate our love affair with love itself. In her research, and in books such as Anatomy of Love, Why We Love, and her latest work Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love, Fisher looks at questions with real impact on modern life. Her latest research raises serious concerns about the widespread, long-term use of antidepressants, which may undermine our natural process of attachment by tampering with hormone levels in the brain.
Human beings have three primary brain systems related to love. 1) The sex drive evolved to motivate individuals to seek copulation with a range of partners; 2) romantic love evolved to motivate individuals to focus their mating energy on specific partners, thereby conserving courtship time and metabolic energy; 3) partner attachment evolved to motivate mating individuals to remain together at least long enough to rear a single child through infancy together. These three basic neural systems interact with one another and other brain systems in myriad flexible, combinatorial patterns to provide the range of motivations, emotions and behaviors necessary to orchestrate our complex human reproductive strategy. But this brain architecture makes it biologically possible to express deep feelings of attachment for one partner, while one feels intense romantic love for another individual, while one feels the sex drive for even more extra-dyadic partners.
What others say
“In hands as skilled and sensitive as Fisher’s, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic.” — Scientific American