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Science of Sex: What’s Your Type?

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So it seems like our “type” may actually reflect a desire to date someone that’s similar to us, or perhaps our idealized and romanticized self. Our quest for sameness goes even further than just college stats and muscle mass. Although scientists can pinpoint general traits that make someone attractive (strong jaw, physical fitness, etc.), studies have shown that we tend to be attracted to those who look like we do. That’s because people want a mate that looks familiar—like their parents or even themselves. In one example, David Perrett, a researcher at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, showed students faces of the opposite sex and asked them to rate them on attractiveness. For one of the faces, he used a picture of the student and morphed it into the opposite sex. Of all the faces to choose from, the students almost always preferred the face that was essentially their own.

Opposites Attract?
We might balk at the narcissism and point to plenty of couples that don’t look alike or share similar backgrounds. But credentials don’t really describe a person’s personality. That’s what Dr. Helen Fischer, an anthropologist and consultant for Chemistry.com, tries to do in her most recent book, Why Him? Why Her? In it, she constructs four different temperaments, based on hormones and neurochemicals, which explain why certain types are attracted to others.

Instead of just looking at things like socioeconomic background and basic interests, Fischer comes up with four main personality types. The Explorer, ruled by high dopamine levels, is a risk-taker, seeks adventure and novelty, and is curious. The Builder has high serotonin activity and is calm, likes schedules and roles, and is conventional. The Director is influenced by testosterone and is focused, analytical, and logical, while the Negotiator has high estrogen activity, sees the big picture, and is compassionate, altruistic, and imaginative.

People can fall into more than one type, but Dr. Fisher contends that while couples may have similarities, they also have traits that complement each other. In Fisher’s view, personality type doesn’t always follow the “like attracts like” situation—Explorers are drawn to Explorers, but Directors and Negotiators tend to pair up well, too

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140 comments

+ add your own
9:41PM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

I agree that generally, people want to be with people who are like themselves. I know I do. Takes a long time though to figure out where and how to find them.

10:10AM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

8:22AM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

Personality types do exist. This can be demonstrated by 'clustering" of traits on graphs.
However, why is "tall, dark and handsome" not a type? LOL

2:58AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

OK~

10:55AM PDT on Jul 3, 2014

coconut

7:14PM PDT on Jun 30, 2014

Interesting. Thks.

2:49AM PDT on Jun 23, 2014

This article must be only for fun.

Might as well enjoy the day single or married -- what does it matter?
Why on earth are some people always capable of finding out what type they are -- and other people cannot fit into the type?
What are the people doing that know their type?
What are the people -- equally of value and worth -- doing that do not fit in 'a type'?

9:41PM PDT on Jun 5, 2014

Thanks to Helen Fischer I finally I know I'm an explorer, a builder, a director and a negotiator. Depends on my daily mood and the weather, of course.

4:43AM PDT on May 29, 2014

Ramhit, are you a fan of Borat?

2:00PM PDT on May 26, 2014

So much for Fischer's attempt to try to categorize people into personality types. It's just a gimmick, and doesn't do justice to the complexity of individuals.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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