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|Why Him? Why Her? - Him Her 4|
In fact, I found it hard to believe that evolution would leave this decision entirely to our human whims. I suspected that psychologists had simply not looked for the underlying biological mechanisms that direct our romantic choices.
So when the folks at Match.com asked me to consider helping them develop a sister site for their Internet dating service, one designed for men and women interested in a long-term partnership, I said I would think about it during the festive midwinter lull.
The holiday season twinkled on. But on New Year's Day I realized I had to come to grips with this opportunity—a chance to apply the newest data in neuroscience to the essential question of who you love, perhaps even help people find "the one."
So I sat down at my empty desk and pulled out a blank sheet of paper. What did I know about personality?
The Biology of Personality
Dopamine. I began with this brain chemical because I had studied the activities of this powerful and ubiquitous neurotransmitter for several years.
On impulse, I listed some of the personality traits I knew were associated with specific genes in the dopamine system: the propensity to seek novelty; the willingness to take risks; spontaneity; heightened energy; curiosity; creativity; optimism; enthusiasm; mental flexibility. I decided to call those men and women who expressed the traits associated with this biology Explorers.
I drew another blank sheet of paper from my desk drawer. What else did I know about personality?
Well, individuals who have inherited particular genes in the serotonin system tend to be calm, social, cautious but not fearful, persistent, loyal, fond of rules and facts and orderly. They are conventional, the guardians of tradition. And because these men and women are also skilled at building social networks and managing people in family, business and social situations, I dubbed those who had inherited this constellation of genetic traits Builders.
I had also studied testosterone. Although testosterone is often associated with males, I knew that both men and women are capable of expressing particularly strong activity in this neural system. Moreover, those who inherit this chemistry tend to be direct, decisive, focused, analytical, logical, tough-minded, exacting, emotionally contained and good at strategic thinking. They get to the point. Many are bold and competitive. They excel at figuring out machines, mathematical formulas or other rule- based systems. Many are good at understanding the structure of music, too. I named these people Directors.