Sage Center Lecture Series: Addicted to Love: The Drive to Love, Who We Choose, and the Neural Foundations of Romantic Happiness and Love Addictions


Helen Fisher

Date and Location

Thursday December 07, 2017 4:00pm
Sage Conference Room (PSYCH 1312)


Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, is a Senior Research Fellow at The Kisney Institute, Indiana University and Visiting Research Professor and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. She is currently working on a book to be published by Henry Holt on mate choice. The book stems from her current work as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Internet site,, where she has collecting data on some 500,000 individuals. In her book Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love (Henry Holt 2004; paperback 2005) Dr. Fisher discussed her research project with colleagues in which she used fMRI brain scanning to investigate the brain circuitry of romantic love. Dr. Fisher has been on the national and international lecture circuit since l983 discussing the evolution of human sexuality, romantic love, marriage and divorce, gender differences, and the future of men and women in business and family life. Since l983, Dr. Fisher has served as an anthropological commentator and/or consultant for businesses and the media. Her contracts include those with NBC's Today Show, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the BBC. For her work in communicating anthropology to the lay public, Helen received the American Anthropological Association's "Distinguished Service Award." 

Dr. Fisher’s SAGE Center lecture is Thursday, December 7 at 4 p.m. in Psychology 1312 on the UCSB campus. It is free and open to the public. Her description of this talk follows:
Helen Fisher PhD, a biological anthropologist, discusses three brain systems that evolved for mating and reproduction:  the sex drive; romantic love; and partner attachment.  She focuses on her colleagues and her brain scanning research (using fMRI) on romantic passion, rejection in love and love addiction.  Then, using her additional fMRI data on two populations and a questionnaire sample (n=100,000), she explores four broad basic styles of thinking and behaving associated with four primary brain systems--the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems—and the role these temperament dimensions play in mate choice.  She concludes with discussion of some of the neuronal foundations of long-term partnership attachment and marital happiness.


Fisher, H. E., Xu, X., Aron, A., & Brown, L. L. (2016). Intense, passionate, romantic love: a natural addiction? How the fields that investigate romance and substance abuse can inform each other. Frontiers in psychology7.
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00687

Fisher, H. E., Island, H. D., Rich, J., Marchalik, D., & Brown, L. L. (2015). Four broad temperament dimensions: description, convergent validation correlations, and comparison with the Big Five. Frontiers in psychology6.
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01098

Brown, L. L., Acevedo, B., & Fisher, H. E. (2013). Neural correlates of four broad temperament dimensions: testing predictions for a novel construct of personality. PloS one8(11), e78734.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078734

Fisher, H. E. (2012). Serial monogamy and clandestine adultery: evolution and consequences of the dual human reproductive strategy. In S. Craig Roberts (Ed.), Applied evolutionary psychology, 93-111. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.