The Chemicals of Love and Attraction

By Lance Braud. For the last few years, Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, has become famous for her study of why people fall in love with one another. She’s been interviewed in popular science magazines, women’s magazines, and is the architect behind’s matchmaking survey. This year, she’s released her new book, “Why him? Why her?” just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Fisher examined nearly 500 personality studies and found that researchers don’t know how personality influences attraction. Combing through the literature, she found that people generally fall into one of four groups: the Explorer, who lives for adventure; the Builder, who longs to live in the suburbs with 2.4 children; the Director, who always has a plan and values intelligence; and the Negotiator, whose favorite word is “passion.” According to Fisher, explorers tend to get along with explorers, and builders with builders. Directors and negotiators, however, are most often attracted to each other.
These connections are based on the effects certain “chemicals of love” tend to have on people’s behavior.
Dopamine, for instance, causes relaxation and mental alertness. It puts you in the mood for meeting someone, and gives you the ability to stare into each other’s eyes while saying nothing at all.
Phenylethylamine produces the feeling of infatuation. Its effects can be similar to that of amphetamine. It’s a sensitive balance in the brain though, too little phenylethylamine can cause you to go into a depression; too much and you’ll get migraines and become prone to bouts of paranoia.
Serotonin’s putative effects are heart palpitations and an inability to concentrate