Dating Magazine

The Biology of Dating and Finding Love

By Kristin Davin @kristindavin

glass hearts

February. The month of love. As a relationship and marital therapist, I peruse current research, articles, and blogs that will ultimately help me help my single clients make good dating relationship choices and my married clients make choices that improve and sustain their marriage. Ultimately the goal for both is to help them have long lasting love and happiness. Of course, all this research helps me keep my relationship in check as well!

Enter Helen Fisher, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on the nature of romantic love and attachment. According to Dr. Fisher, there are several factors that influence our attraction to another person. This we know. However, understanding the role of personality, that of character – everything you grew up to believe and do and think and temperament – your inherited traits, has left many scientists perplexed.

In additon to understanding the connection and the link of personality to its influence on love and attachment, Dr. Fisher also believes in romantic chemistry. Brain chemistry. To this end, she conducted research that zeroed in on specific brain-chemicals to help us even better understand the role of personality in who and why we choose who we choose. Backed by studying academic literature on personality and poring over 40,000 responses from a questionnaire on the dating website,, Dr. Fisher research provides answers and the key to long lasting love and happiness (Read: The Biology of Dating).

“A great deal of data that people vary in terms of their expression of dopamine and norepinephrine, serotonin, estrogen and oxytocin and testosterone. The literature showed particular brain-chemical systems that are related to certain aspects of personality. There wereI constellations of temperament traits that seemed to be associated with these chemicals.”

The result of her research? Four different types of personality, each with specific traits and brain chemical ways that provide greater clarity about attraction, love, and happiness.

Four Personality Types 

Explorers. Explorers are by and large, risk takers, curious, creative, adventuresome, optimistic, impulsive, restless, and energetic. They are easily bored when not absorbed in something that intrigues them. They can be irreverent and autonomous. They crave novelty. Explorers predominantly express the brain-chemical dopamine.”A gene labeled DRD4 controls much of the dopamine activity in brain regions use for thinking, feeling, and motivation. This specific version of this gene is associated with several varieties of novelty seeking.”

Builders. Builders are cautious, but not fearful, persistent and loyal, respectful, remain calm under pressure, tend to be traditional and conventional, and follow social norms and customs. They think concretely and are often detail oriented and orderly. They like schedules and rules. Builders exhibit traits associated with the brain-chemical serotonin, which also elevates estrogen in the brain regions that affect thinking, emotion, and memory.

Directors. Directors can be aggresdsive, decisive, tough minded, and very analytical. They like to debate. They speak their mind. They are tough-minded, direct, and decisive. However, before they make a decision, they thoroughly and unemotionally examine their choices. They admire self-control. They are skeptical, exacting, and independent. They must achieve. Their personality traits are associated with the testosterone system.

Negotiator. Negotiators are imaginative and theoretical. They are unassuming, agreeable, and intuitive. They feel deep compassion for their family and friends and the less fortunate people in the world. They share their feelings and are emotionally expressive. They lean towards being compassionate, intuitive, verbal, nurturing, broadminded imaginative, idealistic, and altruistic. People with this personality are able to see the big picture: contextually, synthetically, holistically. Their personality traits are associated with the brain chemical estrogen.

These four different personality types helps people understand their primary type (and their secondary type) and the person they are dating, creating a greater likelihood that they will be able to reach and create more intimacy with them. This results of her research holds true whether you’re searching for one or wish to strengthen your current one.

However, this is a truncated version of the extensive research Dr. Fisher conducted. You can read more about her research and findings and the four different personality types in her book, Why Him? Why Her? How to Find and Keep Long Lasting Love. A book I recommend!!

Are you with the right person? What’s your personality style? Take the test.

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