Helen Fisher, PhD

Four Primary Temperament Dimensions in the Process of Mate Choice

Fisher, HE, J Rich, HD Island, D Marchalik, L Silver and D Zava (2010)
Poster in Division 06, # ind100727 at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association San Diego, August 14, 2010

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.

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