Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture Series


10th Annual Lecture:


The Drive to Love


The Biology and Evolution of Romantic Love


Guest Lecturer: Helen Fisher, Ph.D

Research Professor, Center for Human Evolutionary Studies Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University, and author of Why We Love


Monday, March 27, 2006 - 4:30 PM


Staller Center for the Arts, Main Stage

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

(Free presentation, intended for a general audience.)

Event videos:

Event overview:

Why do we fall in love? Can humans really experience love at first sight? Why do we prefer one person over another? Anthropologist and author Helen Fisher will address these age-old questions and more as she shares her insight into how the brain shapes how we love. 


In her work, Dr. Fisher distinguishes three primary drives that evolved for reproduction: the sex drive, romantic love, and long-term attachment. She will discuss how these three brain networks interact to shape our mating and reproductive strategies. Then using anthropological data and the results of brain scanning studies of men and women who are happily in love and rejected in love, she will reveal the basic traits of romantic love, frustration attraction, abandonment rage, the despair response, addiction to love, and other phenomena associated with romantic passion. Her talk will conclude with global trends that are shaping patterns of sexual behavior, romance, and marriage.


Helen Fisher earned her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado. She has conducted extensive research on the evolution of human sex, love, and marriage and gender differences in the brain. She is the author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love and Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. Her work has been featured in Time and The New York Times.    


Additional Information


The Swartz Foundation – Mind/Brain Lecture Series Home Page


Stony Brook University Mind/Brain Lecture Series Home Page



Directions to Stony Brook University



Related resources on the Internet:


Helen Fisher’s Home Page


Dr. Helen E. Fisher, Visiting Research Professor and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University


Books and Reviews Books by Helen Fisher


NY Times Book Review: The First Sex; The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World


New York Times Book Review: Love Potion No. 9 (by Liesl Schillinger, March 7, 2004)

Why We Love; The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.


Book review: Why We Love

The Wall Street Journal, 13 February 2004 Why We Love book review: “This is your brain in love”


Random House Author Spotlight: Helen Fisher



Articles and Events


Does love endure?

March 28, 2006,0,777114.story?coll=ny-top-headlines


Love; The Chemical Reaction

Cover Story, National Geographic Magazine, February 2006


If Patterns of Human Love Subtlely Change, All Sorts of Social and Political Atrocities Can Escalate 


Watching New Love As It Sears the Brain

May 31, 2005 - by Benedict Carey (NY Times)


Book review by Helen Fisher: The Naked Woman; A Study of the Female Body, by Desmond Morris.

August 28, 2005 – New York Times


What's a Modern Girl to Do?

October 30, 2005 - by Maureen Dowd (NY Times Magazine)


David Gergen, editor-at-large of U.S. News and World Report, interviews Helen Fisher on the PBS program NewsHour. Transcript from August 16, 1999


She's So Cool, So Smart, So Beautiful: Must Be A Girl Crush

August 11, 2005 - by Stephanie Rosenbloom (NY Times – Science Section)


In Sex, Brain Studies Show, 'la Différence' Still Holds

March 16, 2004 - by Anahad O'Connor


Drury University – Speaker’s Corner: Gender


The science of love; I get a kick out of you

February 12, 2004 - The Economist


Love Is the Drug...Passion is born in the brain's addiction center, study finds 

HealthDay - by E.J. Mundell


Dr. Helen Fisher, speaker at the Third Annual Women’s Partnership for Science Lunch and Lecture to benefit women scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.


Miami University of Ohio – Lecture Series

Helen Fisher, guest speaker, March 6, 2006




Return to Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture Series Home Page: 



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