The Science of Love, with Dr. Helen Fisher

We all want to have a good stable relationship with somebody, says Dr. Helen Fisher. So it’s important to understand how intense romantic love affects our long-term goals. Fisher’s latest book is “Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray” (

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Transcript – We all want to have a good stable relationship with somebody and one of the problems with early stage intense feelings of romantic love is that it’s part of the oldest parts of the brain that become activated. Brain regions linked with drive, with craving, with obsession, with motivation. And in fact some cognitive regions up I the prefrontal cortex that have evolved much more recently begin to shut down. Brain regions linked with decision making, planning ahead, you know, people who are madly in love can fall madly in love with somebody who’s married who lives on the other side of the planet, who comes from a different religion and somehow they’ll say to themselves we’ll work it out. We can work this out because of all that energy of intense romantic love and also the shutting down of various brain systems like with decision making. So one of the things that I say to people is, you know, before you decide to marry somebody spend some, a good deal of time with them so that some of that early stage intense feelings of romantic love can begin to subside and you can begin to really see what you’ve got. As a matter of fact I’m very optimistic about the future of relationships because we’re spending so much time now getting to know somebody before we wed. You know a great many people are having these one night stands and friends with benefits and living together before they marry. And there was a recent study in which they asked a lot of single people who were living together with somebody why have they not yet married. And 67 percent were terrified of divorce, terrified of the – not only the legal and the financial and the economic but the personal and social fallout of divorce. And so I began to realize maybe all of this hooking up and friends with benefits and living together is not recklessness. Maybe it’s caution. Maybe singles are trying to learn every single thing they can about a potential partner before they tie the knot. Read Full Transcript Here: