Dominant chemicals

Photo by Flickr user Ed Yourdon. Click for sourceAnthropologist Helen Fisher has done some fascinating work on the neuroscience of love and romantic relationships, but she hooked up with the dating site Match.com a few years back and seems to have lost the plot a bit, or at the very least, is being taken for a ride by their PR department.

Match.com’s press releases regularly get in the news as ‘science’ stories and the latest ones are doozies. You could not think of a more prefect storm of celebrity gossip, relationships, and junk science.

People have one of four chemicals in their brain that moulds romantic chemistry, scientists explain.

In ‘builders’ like Aniston, serotonin is the dominant chemical, making them calm and cautious.

‘Explorers’, like Brad Pitt, meanwhile, are led by dopamine, creating a more spontaneous and risk-taking romancer.

And, yes, you’ve guessed it, Brad’s current partner Angelina Jolie is an ‘explorer’, too.

Professor Helen Fisher, an expert in the science of love, said: ‘It’s possible to scientifically understand why people partner better with certain types.’

Possible, but presumably, unprofitable.

Actually, there has been some work correlating relationship or attachment style to the genetics of neurotransmitter receptors.

However, the concept of a ‘dominant chemical’ makes no sense at all and Fisher’s categories have been made up by her and are not used by anyone else.

Saying that, my dominant chemical is caffeine. Which makes my ideal partner… an energy drink?

Link to study summary on relationship style and genetics.
Link to study summary on attachment style and genetics.

(Thanks Petra!)

One Comment

  1. Posted March 20, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Love your comment about Helen Fisher. I am having my morning pot of coffee now and trying to imagine if by using Kroger brand rather than say, some exotic, Ecuadorian blend of coffee, what that means about my adventurousness, and of course, the chemistry of my partner, who really likes msg. Mike Logan


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