Saturday, April 6, 2013

Two fascinating Ted Talks on the brain in love

I wanted to share two interesting Ted Talks on the science behind love, both by Helen Fisher (her Wikipedia entry), a leading expert on the biology of love and attraction. Here's what 30 years of research has shown us:

The Brain in love:
(16 min vid)

Why we love:
(24 min vid. The introduction will have some duplicitous information that you already heard if you just watched the above video but only a bit -- keep going, both videos have different information.)


Helen Fisher's research centers on the biology behind love, why we're drawn to some people and not others. She says she's found that there are general personality characteristics associated with neurochemical systems. She came up with 4 "styles" of love (although supposedly you'll have a primary and a secondary focus):
  • Dopamine-influenced Explorers: tend to be adventurous, passionate, risk-taking, novelty-seeking, generous, creative, impulsive, restless, intensely energetic, optimistic, adaptive, autonomous, liberal, city-dwelling, insatiably curious—and intolerant of boredom.
  • Serotonin-inspired Builders: “Pillars of society,” Fisher calls them. They’re most often loyal, calm, confident, conscientious, dutiful, moral, conventional, respectful of authority, conservative, concrete, orderly, cautious (yet not fearful), community-oriented, social, detail-oriented, predictable, persistent, patient, schedule-and-routine oriented, good at managing people, tolerant of repetition— and intolerant of rule-breaking.
  • Testosterone-laden Directors (over 2/3 of whom are male): They’re outspoken, tough-minded, decisive, to-the-point, thorough, objective, forthright, independent, skeptical, exacting, competitive, bold, analytical, spatially (and mathematically, mechanically and/or musically) skilled, focused, inventive, hungry for knowledge—and intolerant of chitchat.
  • Estrogen-influenced Negotiators (who represent about 15% more women than men): seek a Soul Mate. They’re variously known as imaginative, agreeable, intuitive, empathic, gifted at coalescing diverse thoughts in a process Fisher calls “web-thinking," curious about people, avid in reading and writing, and tolerant of ambiguity. Negotiators are emotionally expressive, intimacy-seeking and intolerant of emotional distance.
Whelp, that was obvious. I'm a "negotiator." I'm not totally sure what my secondary one would be, maybe elements of builder. Interesting stuff. What are you?

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