Following on from previous posts about the different types and styles of love, here’s a video interview with Helen Fisher that is quite thought-provoking.
It starts with some neuroscience of lust versus attraction versus bonding, goes through an interlude about meditation, and ends with a discussion of personality types.
Curiously, it seems that Helen Fisher has lately got interested in the personality categorisation game. Her scheme is based around linking hormones and neurotransmitters to personality traits and sorting people into four classes (dopamine/explorer, serotonin/builder, testosterone/director and oestrogen/negotiator). It seems to me a bit of a forced analogy, mapping personality traits onto biochemical substrates in a rather unsophisticated way, but it is an interesting attempt to get at why we find some people particularly attractive.
There must be some basis for the variation along the big five axes for personality. Trying to explain personality is a fascinating example of converging approaches to a problem. The big five traits were identified by an objective statistical analysis of lexical use – kind of the highest level emergent property of millions of people expressing their personalities. At the same time, biologists were taking a mechanistic approach of investigating how individual hormones and neurotransmitters alter behaviour.
Bridging the two levels is where the real challenge lies…
I would be willing to bet there are a fair few ‘dopamine’ + ‘oestrogen’ types on this site. Seems to be the dominant combination for those prone to limerence?
Looked up Helen Fishers test online and did it. Got around 60% for dopamine, testosterone and oestrogen types. I think that means I am attracted to pretty much everyone….eeek! 😆 Fun and interesting if not exactly conclusive.
As a totally irrelevant aside, I do not agree with Helen Fisher’s view on gendered brains. Recent high quality research led me to understand that infant boy and girl brains were identical but diverged a small amount (95%+ overlap) after 18 months or so due to the combination of social rules, gender stereotypes and neuroplasticity.
I just skimmed the video. I liked it.
I took the test. I’m Builder (64%)/Director (62%) which seems to fit my ENTJ MBTI profile.
I seem to be prone to the FWB problem. There seemed to be little initial mutual attraction between me and both LO #1 and LO #2. But, once we started sleeping together, that changed.
As a FWB, LO #2 was outstanding. As a girlfriend, she was pretty good. As an ex, she was marginal. I remember having “the talk” with LO #2 about what our relationship was. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was deciding whether to invest in her or not. It didn’t work out but she became my first adult relationship and I’ll never forget her.
(Tongue-in-cheek) Question of the Day: “If oxytocin is the “binding hormone,” does masturbation cause you to become a narcissist since you fall in love with yourself?”
Thinking back now I’ve had 7 LE in my life, I remember always being in love even as a kid, even when I was 4 years old.
I don’t have traumas nor have I been abandoned. I ve had a happy childhood with loving parents , I don’t know why I’m limetent , I thought I just always loved really hard. I might have a little ADD so ruminating comes natural for me, I’ve always been a dreamy person. But I’m not an ocd / obsessive person on other areas. I don’t understand why I have LE s and I’m not sure where to work on in therapy but I sure would like to be a non limerent because it gets me depressed even when the LO loves me back! ( Had to take anti depressants while with LE #nr6 who i married ) Being middel aged now and in LE #7 that’s totally consuming me. Are there more people who just don’t understand where there limerence comes from or is it myth it always comes from trauma??
I’ve been wondering that too. I guess it depends a bit on how you define trauma – after years of therapy I’ve learned it’s not necessarily a “huge bad experience” you had but also very subtle things in family dynamics that leave their mark on you. So I guess the “perfect” childhood doen’t exist but mine was pretty much as good as it gets. I recieved unconditional love and respect and appreciation from my parents, there was no violence, physical or emotional. They also modeled a healthy romantic relationship for me. They were super stable and had healthy discussions instead of fights and their union always felt very safe for me as a child. Yet, here I am. Sometimes I wonder if this is what my “trauma” is. When life gets stressful and overwhelming, I mentally go to the place that feels safe for me, which is a romantic relationship, even if it’s just in my head. That would also explain why I only become limerent when single. But that theory also has it’s flaws, it’s only one of many I entertain.
Like you, I’ve always been a day dreamer even when not limerent. I’m highly introverted and enjoy being alone and listening to my own thoughts. Are introverts more prone to limerence?
Allie 1 says
Me too BLE, thinking is my favourite hobby, and I believe a lot of Lwl members share that.
There is a blog article on this somewhere. A study was done by Lucy from “Neurosparkle” that found a higher proportion of introverts are limerent compared to extroverts.
I have never suffered any real trauma so do not relate my limerence to that at all. I was crush & infatuation prone from a very young age. I too am a day dreamer and was always shy, emotional, sensitive, idealistic and highly romantic. As a teen, fantasy relationships felt safer and far better than the real thing. I also have a deep seated need for occasional intense experiences in order to feel fully alive – I have tried emotional, drug or adrenaline fuelled – they all do it for me! I think it is all of those tendencies combined that set the stage for my adult LE addiction.
Limerent Emeritus says
Is this the one you’re referring to?
I relate to that so much. Even as early as elementary school, my teachers told my parents that I always had my head in the clouds and looked outside the window all day instad of paying attention to the classes. I still was a good student and was social and had friends, so nobody was really worried about it. But apparently it stood out enough to be worth mentioning (repeatedly thoughout my years at school).
Unlike for you, drugs don’t really do it for me. I’ve experimented a bit in college. If you want to call that experimenting – I’ve tried a lot of things once but I never got a proper high from anything. My friends back then said it was because I was most intoxicated when sober. And I think that’s a fair desciption. It’s pretty entertaining in my head and any kind of substance just dulls that down. Hence, my addiction to limerence.