The Science of Love & Attraction
Helen Fisher in Conversation with Michael Krazny
Tuesday June 4th 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
Helen E. Fisher, PhD biological anthropologist, is a Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. She has written five books on the evolution and future of human sexuality, monogamy, adultery and divorce, gender differences in the brain, the chemistry of romantic love, and most recently, human personality types and why we fall in love with one person rather than another. Fisher maintains that humans have evolved three core brain systems for mating and reproduction: 1. Lust (the sex drive or libido) 2. Romantic attraction (romantic love) 3. Attachment (deep feelings of union with a long term partner). “Love can start off with any of these three feelings,” Fisher maintains. “Some people fall head over heels in love, but the sex drive evolved to encourage you to seek a range of partners; romantic love evolved to enable you to focus your mating energy on just one at a time; and attachment evolved to enable you to feel deep union to this person long enough to rear your infants as a team.” But, these brain systems can be tricky. Having sex, Fisher says, can drive up dopamine in the brain and push you over the threshold toward falling in love. And with orgasm, you experience a flood of oxytocin and vasopressin--giving you feelings of attachment. “Casual sex isn’t always casual” Fisher reports, “It can trigger a host of powerful feelings.” In fact, Fisher believes that men and women often engage in “hooking up” to unconsciously trigger these feelings of romance and attachment. What happens when you fall in love? People can list what they don’t like about their sweetheart, but they sweep these things aside and focus on what they adore. Intense energy, elation, mood swings, emotional dependence, separation anxiety, possessiveness, a pounding heart and craving are all central to this madness. Helen Fisher will be in conversation with Michael Krasny who is the host of the KQED radio program Forum. He is also a professor of English at San Francisco State University and the author of Spiritual Envy: an Agnostic’s Quest and Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life. His many stage interviews include Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, and Brian Greene.
This event is taking place at the Nourse Theatre at 275 Hayes Street