Helen Fisher, PhD
Helen with Men in New Guinea

The Natural Leadership Talents of Women

From Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership. L Coughlin, E Wingard and K Hollihan (Eds). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. “If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit and good of mankind, it will be a power such as the world […]Read More

Neural Correlates of Long-Term Intense Romantic Love

Bianca P. Acevedo, Arthur Aron, Helen E. Fisher, and Lucy L. BrownSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Advance Access published January 5, 2011 The present study examined the neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Ten women and 7 men married an average of 21.4 years underwent fMRI while viewing […]Read More

Infidelity: When, Where, Why.

Tsapelas, I, HE Fisher, and A Aron (2010) “Infidelity: when, where, why.” in WR Cupach and BH Spitzberg, The Dark Side of Close Relationships II, New York: Routledge, pp 175-196 Pair-bonding is a hallmark of humanity. Data from the Demographic Yearbooks of the United Nations on 97 societies canvassed in the 1990s indicate that approximately […]Read More

Four Primary Temperament Dimensions in the Process of Mate Choice

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the role of temperament in the initial attraction phase of mate choice. Cross-cultural surveys, brain imaging studies, population and molecular genetics, comparative research and twin studies suggest that many traits of temperament are heritable, relatively stable across the life course and linked to specific gene pathways and/or hormone or neurotransmitter systems. A literature review of behavior genetics, and studies of neurotransmitters, hormones, medications, illicit drugs, and gender reassignment indicate that a suite of biobehavioral traits are associated with four broad, interrelated yet different neural systems: 1) the related dopamine and norepinephrine systems; 2) the serotonin system; 3) the testosterone system; 4) and the related estrogen and oxytocin systems. Currently biological data are not sufficient to establish the exact biological bases of these four hypothesized dimensions of temperament. Nevertheless, the currently available literature, the reliability of the FRI-NQ measure, and the ten validity measures suggest that four temperament dimensions are likely to be associated with four interrelated yet specific neurochemical systems. Read More
Helen with Woman in New Guinea

Four Primary Temperament Dimensions Based on Neurochemistry

We investigated the hypothesis that specific suites of co-varying heritable temperament traits are associated with broad yet specific human neural systems. Personality is composed of two basic types of traits: traits that an individual acquires, dimensions of character; and traits with biological underpinnings, dimensions of temperament (Cloninger 1987). This paper examines only those traits the current literature associates with traits of temperament. Many traits of temperament are heritable, relatively stable across the life course and linked to specific gene pathways and/or hormone or neurotransmitter systems. Read More

Lust, Romance, Attraction, Attachment: Do the side-effects of serotonin-enhancing antidepressants jeopardize romantic love, marriage and fertility?

Fisher, H and JA Thomson Jr. (2007)Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience. SM Platek, JP Keenan and TK Shakelford (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Pp. 245-283. Today, millions of people of reproductive age take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other serotonin-enhancing antidepressants. Approximately 80% of these drugs are prescribed by nonpsychiatric physicians, including internists, general practitioners, pediatricians, […]Read More
MRI machine

Romantic Love: A Mammalian Brain System for Mate Choice

Fisher, H, A Aron and LL Brown (2006)“The Neurobiology of Social Recognition, Attraction and Bonding,” Keith Kendrick (Ed), Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. 361:2173-2186 Mammals and birds regularly express mate preferences and make mate choices. Data on mate choice among mammals suggest that this behavioural ‘attraction system’ is associated with dopaminergic reward […]Read More