Helen Fisher: Why we love, why we cheat
Helen Fisher - Anthropologist and expert on love
Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She’s best known as an expert on romantic love. Full bio
about the two biggest social trends
with my work on romantic love,
32 people, who were madly in love,
and their love was accepted;
and they had just been dumped.
about that first,
I think love is going.
wondering about this question
the stars a million years ago.
what romantic love was
of the psychological research
that happen when you fall in love.
what I call, "special meaning."
and that center was Mary Anne."
don't like about them,
and focus on what you do.
from all over the world,
you one very short poem
on a particular woman.
madly in love with somebody
from every other car in the parking lot.
at the dinner party.
on a bamboo sleeping mat.
the bamboo sleeping mat.
I watched you roll it out."
of dopamine in his brain,
take on special meaning,
"I felt like jumping in the sky."
You're walking till dawn.
when things are going well;
when things are going poorly.
with somebody casually,
if they're sleeping with somebody else.
sexually possessive of them.
purpose to this.
is to pull two people together
to rear babies as a team.
of romantic love are craving:
to be with a particular person,
on the telephone, to invite you out, etc.,
and you want this person.
it is an obsession.
in the MRI machine,
was always the same.
and night do you think about this person?"
about him or her."
myself up to this question,
in any kind of traumatic situation.
"Would you die for him or her?"
of their sweetheart
when it was in that heightened state
in a lot of brain regions.
was a brain region
when you feel the rush of cocaine.
is not an emotion.
it was a series of emotions,
the craving part of the mind.
for that piece of chocolate,
that promotion at work.
than the sex drive.
to go to bed with you,
or slip into a clinical depression.
in love will kill for it.
of this powerful brain system.
brain systems on Earth
basically different brain systems
the craving for sexual gratification.
an "intolerable neural itch,"
a little bit, like being hungry.
systems is romantic love:
you can feel for a long-term partner.
evolved to get you out there,
driving along in your car.
to enable you to focus your mating energy
the third brain system,
this human being
a child together as a team.
the two most profound social trends.
certainly of the last 25 years,
on these three different brain systems:
and deep attachment to a partner.
moving into the workforce.
of the United Nations.
129 out of 130 of them,
into the job market --
but they are moving into the job market --
that gap between men and women
health and education.
there's a counter-trend.
but the caravan moves on."
because this is not new.
on the grasslands of Africa,
to gather their vegetables.
of the evening meal.
as just as economically,
moving forward to the past.
invention was the plow.
men's roles became extremely powerful.
jobs as collectors,
and the post-industrial revolution
that they had a million years ago,
of the most remarkable traditions
on the business community.
and then go on to sex and love.
that men and women are alike.
that we do not have in common.
We need each other to get ahead."
to have the same brain.
gender differences in the brain.
and then move on to sex and love.
rapidly, basic articulation
of the menstrual cycle,
they're better than the average man.
words were women's tools.
in front of their face,
educating it with words.
a very powerful force.
into the regular job market,
is like the global campfire.
the producer who calls me,
is to have another government."
who are writers in America are women.
many characteristics that women have
of imagination, of long-term planning.
of the brain are better connected,
pieces of data when they think,
see more options and outcomes.
step-by-step thinking pattern.
ways of thinking.
male geniuses in the world.
male idiots in the world.
it works extremely well.
that we're doing is,
a collaborative society,
of both men and women
and valued and employed.
into the job market
on sex and romance and family life.
to express their sexuality.
when people come to me and say,
more men are adulterous than women?"
these men are sleeping with?"
have more partners,
for the partners that they do,
in order to get good ones.
of female sexual expression.
forward to the kind of sexual expression
of Africa a million years ago,
of sexual expression that we see
to an ancient form of marriage equality.
they call the "symmetrical marriage,"
or the "companionate marriage."
with the ancient human spirit.
and 86 percent of American men
who had every single quality
in a study of 37 societies,
with the person that they marry.
on their way off this braid of human life.
might even become more stable
moving into the job market,
the aging world population.
as up to age 85.
age category of 76 to 85,
have nothing really wrong with them.
extension of middle age.
I looked at divorce data in 58 societies.
the less likely you are to divorce.
is stable in America,
as interesting as they are now.
have women been so educated,
really was ever a time in human evolution
good marriages, that time is now.
of complications in this.
-- lust, romantic love and attachment --
fall in love with somebody
of oxytocin and vasopressin --
of cosmic union with somebody
lust, romantic love and attachment,
to a long-term partner
romantic love for somebody else,
unrelated to these other partners.
more than one person at a time.
of attachment for one person
of romantic love for somebody else.
going on in your head
that was built to be happy;
that was built to reproduce.
with each other.
in the United States.
on these antidepressants,
antidepressants -- since she was 13.
ever since she was 13.
who take them short term,
through something horrible.
or kill somebody else.
in the United States
is raise levels of serotonin.
you suppress the dopamine circuit.
the dopamine circuit,
you kill orgasm.
associated with attachment.
without love is a deadly place.
and sex and attachment for 30 years.
I am interested in why we're all alike.
why the Iraqis and the Japanese
and the people of the Amazon River
Match.com, came to me
a new dating site for them.
about personality. You know?
you've got the right person?"
about why it is that you fall in love
it will be my next book.
with one person rather than another.
Proximity is important.
who's somewhat mysterious,
elevates dopamine in the brain,
over that threshold to fall in love.
what I call your "love map,"
as you grow up.
that you gravitate to certain people,
complementary brain systems.
contributing to this.
a story, to illustrate.
about the biology of love.
about the culture of it, too,
heard it just from one --
I'm at Rutgers and my two colleagues --
in the MRI machine.
in love with another graduate student,
all at a conference in Beijing.
very novel with somebody,
the dopamine in the brain,
system for romantic love.
on a rickshaw ride with him.
all around the buses and the trucks
and it's exciting.
and squeezing him
off of the rickshaw,
that millions of years ago,
embedded in the human brain.
as long as our species survives
"this mortal coil."
About the speaker:Helen Fisher - Anthropologist and expert on love
Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She’s best known as an expert on romantic love.
Why you should listen
Fisher's several books lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion: its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society. 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. Her classic study Anatomy of Love, first published in 1992, has just been re-issued in a fully updated edition, including her recent neuroimaging research on lust, romantic love and attachment as well as discussions of sexting, hooking up, friends with benefits, other contemporary trends in courtship and marriage, and a dramatic current trend she calls “slow love.”
Helen Fisher | Speaker | TED.com