You didn't have the opportunity to choose between 1,000 people on a dating site.In fact, I've been studying this recently, and I actually think there's some sort of sweet spot in the brain; I don't know what it is, but apparently, from reading a lot of the data, we can embrace about five to nine alternatives, and after that, you get into what academics call "cognitive overload," and you don't choose any.Fourteen million or more people have now taken the questionnaire, and I've been able to watch who's naturally drawn to whom.And as it turns out, those who were very expressive of the dopamine system tend to be curious, creative, spontaneous, energetic — I would imagine there's an awful lot of people like that in this room — they're drawn to people like themselves.We can give you various people — all the dating sites can — but the only real algorithm is your own human brain. Technology is also not going to change who you choose to love.I study the biology of personality, and I've come to believe that we've evolved four very broad styles of thinking and behaving, linked with the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems.Today's singles want to know every single thing about a partner before they wed.You learn a lot between the sheets, not only about how somebody makes love, but whether they're kind, whether they can listen and at my age, whether they've got a sense of humor.
We've got data now on over 30,000 people, and every single year, I see some of the same patterns.
I'm not suggesting that we're not — that we're necessarily sexually faithful to our partners. I and my colleagues have put over 100 people into a brain scanner — people who had just fallen happily in love, people who had just been rejected in love and people who are in love long-term. And I've long ago maintained that we've evolved three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction: sex drive, feelings of intense romantic love and feelings of deep cosmic attachment to a long-term partner.
I've looked at adultery in 42 cultures, I understand, actually, some of the genetics of it, and some of the brain circuitry of it. And together, these three brain systems — with many other parts of the brain — orchestrate our sexual, our romantic and our family lives.
Curious, creative people need people like themselves. People very expressive of the testosterone system tend to be analytical, logical, direct, decisive, and they go for their opposite: they go for somebody who's high estrogen, somebody who's got very good verbal skills and people skills, who's very intuitive and who's very nurturing and emotionally expressive. Modern technology is not going to change who we choose to love.
People who are very expressive of the serotonin system tend to be traditional, conventional, they follow the rules, they respect authority, they tend to be religious — religiosity is in the serotonin system — and traditional people go for traditional people. But technology is producing one modern trend that I find particularly important.