As an anthropologist, Helen Fisher studies behavior within a historical and cultural context. Watch for signs of the cross-cultural universality of passion and love, now and in the past.

She discusses many approaches to the measurement of romantic love that are similar to those used by psychologists, watch for similar and differing research approaches.

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.

Who is she:

Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She’s best known as an expert on romantic love, and her beautifully penned books — including Anatomy of Love and Why We Love — lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion.

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.


  1. When she states the romantic love is very simple, what does she mean?
  1. What evidence does she present to justify the statement that the “love drive” is similar to the rush that a cocaine addict feels (and that it is more powerful than the sex drive).
  1. What are the 2 most profound social trends of the past 10,000 years, and what is the current (and probable future) impact of these trends.
  1. What are some of the advantages women bring to the work force?
  1. What are some of the consequences of people in America regarding middle age as extending to around 85 years?
  1. Design a novel experience, similar to the rickshaw ride, that you could use to make someone find you more romantically appealing.

The brain in love with Helen Fisher


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