|Why Him? Why Her? - Him Her 5|
Last in my store of biological knowledge were some of the traits linked with estrogen. Women and men with a great deal of estrogen activity tend to see the big picture: they connect disparate facts to think contextually and holistically, expressing what I call web thinking. They are imaginative. They display superior verbal skills and excel at reading postures, gestures, facial expressions and tones of voice, known as executive social skills. They are also intuitive, sympathetic, nurturing, mentally flexible, agreeable, idealistic, altruistic and emotionally expressive. I christened the people of this broad biological type Negotiators.
Other chemical systems play a role in personality, of course. Two others should be mentioned. Norepinephrine, a chemical closely related to dopamine, undoubtedly contributes to some of the Explorer's traits, especially their energy and impulsivity. And oxytocin—a chemical synthesized, stored and triggered (in large part) by estrogen—most likely plays a role in the Negotiator's compassion, nurturing, trust and intuition. In fact, families of chemicals produce the Explorer, Builder, Director and Negotiator. The specific activities of any one chemical are not as significant as the ratios and interactions among all of them and several other neural systems.
Nevertheless, only dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen have been directly associated with a wide range of personality traits. So variations in these four chemicals most likely form the foundation of these four basic styles of thinking and behaving.
But does your personality type guide who you love?
I decided to find out.
The Personality Type Study
I accepted the consulting job as scientific adviser to what would become the new Internet dating site Chemistry.com. And in January 2005, I began to create the core statements in the questionnaire members would fill out when they joined this service, a questionnaire to establish their personality type. I based all my queries on genetics and neurochemistry.
For example, I posed the statement "I do things on the spur of the moment." I reasoned that Explorers would be most likely to "strongly agree" because certain genes in the dopamine system are associated with impulsivity.