Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She's best known as an expert on romantic love, and her beautifully penned books — including Anatomy of Love and Why We Love — lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion.

Why you should listen

Helen Fisher's courageous investigations of romantic love -- its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society -- are informing and transforming the way we understand ourselves. Fisher describes love as a universal human drive (stronger than the sex drive; stronger than thirst or hunger; stronger perhaps than the will to live), and her many areas of inquiry shed light on timeless human mysteries, like why we choose one partner over another.

Almost unique among scientists, Fisher explores the science of love without losing a sense of romance: Her work frequently invokes poetry, literature and art -- along with scientific findings -- helping us appreciate our love affair with love itself. In her research, and in books such as Anatomy of Love, Why We Love, and her latest work Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love, Fisher looks at questions with real impact on modern life. Her latest research raises serious concerns about the widespread, long-term use of antidepressants, which may undermine our natural process of attachment by tampering with hormone levels in the brain.

What others say

"In hands as skilled and sensitive as Fisher's, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic." — Scientific American

Helen Fisher’s TED talks

Helen Fisher on the TED Blog
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Live from TED2014

Lies, sex, an even freer Wikipedia and Sir Ken at a slaughterhouse: A recap of “The future is ours,” All-Stars Session 5 at TED2014

March 20, 2014

By Kate Torgovnick, Morton Bast, Thu-Huong Ha The future. When it comes down to it, it’s not about flying cars, flashy robots, jetpacks, or awesome sunglasses. It’s about the little things we can do to advance healthcare, better education, create opportunities, improve connections between each other, and make lives just a little bit easier. In […]

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Culture

10 facts about infidelity, as divulged by Helen Fisher

January 23, 2014

Love isn’t so much an emotion, says Helen Fisher in her TED Talk. No, love is a brain system — one of three that that’s related to mating and reproduction. It’s those other two systems that explain why human beings are capable of infidelity even as we so highly value love. We see infidelity on […]

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Playlist

3 TEDTalks for National Poetry Day

October 8, 2009

Today is National Poetry Day in the UK, and why not everywhere? We found out about it in the stateless world of Twitter trending topics. If you’re in the mood to celebrate, watch a few of these TEDTalks about, or featuring, poetry: “War child” Emmanuel Jal tells the story of his amazing life in words […]

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Quotes from Helen Fisher

[Women] tend to collect more pieces of data when they think, put them into more complex patterns, see more options and outcomes. They tend to be contextual, holistic thinkers.
Helen Fisher
TED2006 • 5.5M views Sep 2006
Informative, Fascinating
I don’t think we’re an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce.
Helen Fisher
TED2006 • 5.5M views Sep 2006
Informative, Fascinating