This page supports the post on Dr Helen Fisher’s Personality Test for Love, transposed for Facebook notes. If you happened on here without knowing about the other post or the topic, you might want to give it a try.
If you were here after completing the Facebook note, you can copy whatever here you like to add to it to enhance it. I recommend grabbing the sections with the headers of your two major personality types: Explorers, Builders, Directors and Negotiators. It might make for a long note so you might want to limit what you cut, too, but I think it’s all very interesting. The rest is additional information for your curiosity if you care to know more. Some good general advice from Dr Fisher appears near the end, along with a video of a talk she gave at a TED conference.
According to Dr Helen Fisher, we each have some amount of four personality types in her test: Explorer, Builder, Director and Negotiator. Their sources are high activity among two sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and two neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin). The dominant two personalities of the four, the two for which you had the two highest scores, are most influential in defining who you are. So the way you should read your result of PRIMARY/Secondary is to slur them together, like I’m a Director Explorer. The slash (/) does not imply or. Likewise, you preferred match should be read the same way, like I prefer Negotiator Explorer types, meaning someone who is a Negotiator first, and Explorer second, not Negotiators or Explorers, although either type would be a natural secondary preference.
As for attraction, Dr Fisher found that some personality types are attracted to complementary opposites, while others are attracted to similar types who enhance each other. That explains the big debate on whether opposites attract or whether birds of the same feather flock together. However, there are other factors at play, of course. Dr Fisher openly points out that
… you tend to fall in love with somebody from your same socioeconomic background, same general level of intelligence, same general level of good looks, same religious value… But you can walk into a room where everybody meets those requirements, and you don’t fall in love with all of them! …We tend to fall in love with somebody who can give us what we need in exchange for giving them what they need. Timing is important, proximity is important.
Dr Fisher is not trying to take any joy out of dating to figure things out exactly, just trying to do some preselecting so you don’t have to kiss a lot of frogs.
Below are some descriptions of each personality type from Dr Fisher’s test. I have written some information on my own, while grabbing other bits from these various sources which I thought complemented each other well:
- Dr Fisher’s book, Why Him? Why Her?
- Dr Fisher’s “lab” in the match-making site, Chemistry.com
- Dr Fisher’s interview in Elle magazine online
I have also included information on each type’s “natural attractions”, which is what people really want to know. How I would interpret “natural attractions” is that those natural matches would tend to get along easiest and be most enduring as couples, statistically in the long run. That’s a statistical trend summary, not an overall statement that would be true for everyone by any means. There are too many other factors making each of us who we are and making us very different from another of the same personality type, even right down to the proportions. But if you had to bet on things, bet on those natural matches consistently to make money in the long run.
One final note. In the Chemistry.com site test from where Dr Fisher gets her data from over 7 million members strong now, your scores for every personality type is added together to make the whole. Then your score for each type is divided by this whole* to get a percentage of dominance each has of you. For example: 31% Director, 27% Explorer, 26% Negotiator, 16% Builder. Such a balanced profile shows not only a lack of dominance in personality, but also leaves that person with 3 of 4 significant factors for a mismatch rather than the 2 of 4 most people would have. However, when that person need to play chameleon, for real situation requiring it like working with certain others, it’s not hard for that person to do so, and less tiresome on them than others not so well balanced. Just something to think about.
* The Chemistry.com test has a few other questions involving pictures which factors into the whole, with unknown weighing factors, but since I cannot duplicate that, we will work with the “book” test in the post this post supports as it were.
Explorers are a product of high dopamine activity (associated with curiosity and spontaneity).
Explorers are curious, creative, adventurous, sexual, impulsive and self-reliant. They are also known for high energy, novelty, risk and pleasure seeking ways, and not being easily swayed by opinion.
In one sampling (39,913 profiles), Dr Fisher found 26.0% were Explorers. The gender difference was 27.1% for men and 26.1% for women, but that was statistically significant due to the large sample size. It is small, though, still, and not surprising because the dominant chemical, dopamine, is a neurotransmitter, not a sex hormone like testosterone or estrogen. Compare results to that of Directors and Negotiators, which have dominant sex hormone chemicals, to see the difference.
The Explorers want the stimulation and the novelty of the big city, says Dr Fisher, who suspects President Barack Obama is an Explorer. He’s got charm, and the Explorer has charm to kill. The high-dopamine type is comfortable in his own skin. Look at the way Obama moves. It’s beautiful.
Other well-known Explorers include President John F. Kennedy, Boris Yeltsin, Helen Keller (who was quite the Explorer!), Ernest Hemmingway, Alfred Tennyson and Robert Schumann. Not surprisingly, they are a fairly creative bunch, as Explorers tend to be.
The top word used by Explorers in their Chemistry.com profiles is adventure. (178,000 profiles sample)
Explorers live a rich and varied life because they’re such energetic, even restless people who regard time in a different way than most others. They move fast. Their natural curiosity draws them to all kinds of different situations where they can come up with new ideas, practice their theories and generate new thoughts. Shifting their attention from one problem to another is not a problem for them, they are always looking for more thrills and excitement in their lives. Their adventurous streak sometimes makes them take unnecessary risks, leaving them prone to breaking the law more often than other types would. But with a little help from the people around them, they can also make excellent scientists and athletes – they certainly have the hunger and devotion that these jobs need.
Explorers are very likable people with generous minds and happy attitudes to life and people around them. They have a playful nature, they can be sensual and enjoy life to the point of being hedonistic. At the same time, they are unpredictable and hard to rely upon, which does not make them good marriage material. They are not prone to routine and don’t tolerate boredom very well. Their impatience can make them selfish companions as they don’t generally bend themselves to anyone’s rules.
Explorers are drawn to other Explorers. In a survey of 28,128 anonymous Chemistry.com members who were paired up with another, Male Explorers preferred female Explorers 41% of the time while preferring Directors least at 16%. Female Explorers had an even greater preference at 46%, but was pretty much even on preference for any of the other three categories. That general non-preference towards the other categories can be attributed to the Explorer’s flexibility, curiosity and willing to try just about anything once.
The proposed reasoning behind Explorers being drawn to other Explorers because they crave excitement. They want optimism, impulsivity and curiosity in their partner. The Explorer/Explorer match is generally strong because Explorers love adventure and want a partner to share their spontaneity. But this match can have problems. Since both are willing to tolerate risks, two Explorers can find themselves in disastrous situations. And Explorers are not usually very introspective so the pair often avoids difficult discussions. However, the Explorers, typical of their adventurous nature, have a completely different way of propagating their genes compared to the other matches that are done through stable family units. Says Dr Fisher, [what] I find curious from an evolutionary standpoint is the attraction between Explorers. Who’s going to take care of the baby if they’re both on their way up Mount Everest, or in the bar taking drugs, or in the library reading Spinoza? But people who express a lot of dopamine, the sensation seekers, tend to marry more often. I began to see a different Darwinian strategy—different babies with different partners. That’s very adaptive, because they’re creating more genetic variety in their young.
Builders are a product of high serotonin activity (associated with sociability and feelings of calm).
Builders are calm, persistent, loyal, traditional, cooperative, social and managerial. They are also usually very popular, consistent, protective, with deep attachment to home and family, low anxiety.
In one sampling (39,913 profiles), Dr Fisher found 28.6% were Builders. The gender difference was 27.6% for men and 29.4% for women, but that was definitely statistically significant due to the large sample size. The relatively small difference was not surprising because the dominant chemical, serotonin, is a neurotransmitter, not a sex hormone like testosterone or estrogen. Compare results to that of Directors and Negotiators, which have dominant sex hormone chemicals, to see the difference.
The Builders live in the suburbs and in the countryside. They want grass and neighborhoods and to be part of the PTA, says Dr Fisher.
Well-known Builders include President George Washington, a Builder “par excellence” as Dr Fisher says in her book. She meant it, too, because she devoted the Builders chapter practically to George! She mentioned Washington’s wife Martha, who also sounded like a Builder herself.
The top word used by Builders in their Chemistry.com profiles is family. (178,000 profiles sample)
Builders are considered to be calm, with good people skills, open for relationships, affable and social. The reason why Builders tend to be successful in most social situations is that they find them fun and relaxing. They love socializing and have a close circle of friends since duty and loyalty are amongst the traits they value highly. Their loyalty to friends and family is often absolute.
Builders are careful and cautious people. They don’t often plunge head over heels into new adventures. They are not dreamers with their heads in the clouds. They think in concrete terms. They’re well-prepared and not inclined to make the same mistake twice. Builders also tend to be very sensible when it comes to business and money matters. They like to be safe and secure, therefore things are always in perfect order around them and they plan well ahead.
Traditions and social norms are important for Builders. They hold moral standards in very high regard. They are not easily bored or distracted, and that allows them to be methodical, dependable and hard-working. Other people tend to turn to them in times of need. They truly can be regarded as the pillars of the community. At the same time, due to their picky of doing things the ‘right way’, they can be hostile towards other solutions. They are considered to be very headstrong, even stubborn people who will not easily let go of their plans. Their need for order, rules and regulations is not the best basis for spontaneity. They can quite easily delve into being pessimistic, too rigid and taking things way too literally.
Builders usually fall for other Builders. In a survey of 28,128 anonymous Chemistry.com members who were paired up with another, Male Builders preferred female Builders 38% of the time while preferring Negotiators least at 15%. Female Builders preferred male Builders 35% of the time, and also preferred Negotiators least at 16%. The dislike for Negotiators seems to be between literal and metaphoric, tradition and theoretical, practicality and idealism. There was also a universal dislike for Directors, at about 19%, probably for their independence and individualism rather than community-orientation, not to mention the former’s directness.
Builders are most likely to marry each other, to say they are happy in their marriage and less likely to divorce than other combination. Builders like bringing people and community together and enjoy working together. They are successful at building large circles of close friends, making sensible decisions about money, family and feelings together. They value security above almost everything. Dr Fisher says of the Builders’ preference for each other: They’re not going to tolerate the other types. They’re both traditional, managerial. These are the 50-year marriages. They’re going to have five children. That’s easy to explain from a Darwinian perspective.
Directors are a product of high testosterone activity (associated with independence and rational thinking). Although it’s a male hormone, it’s shared by both sexes. Women Directors certainly aren’t rare (1/10 among women, 1/20 among total population).
Directors are analytical, decisive, focused, inventive, competitive, independent and strategic-minded. They are also daring, original, direct, non-conforming, skilled at abstract thinking and short-term planning, often assertive, tough-minded and efficient.
In one sampling (39,913 profiles), Dr Fisher found only 16.3% were Directors. The gender difference was 24.8% for men and just 9.7% for women. This difference was massive due to the large sampling size and small error as a result, but it should not be surprising. The dominant chemical, testosterone, is a a sex hormone that is produced by both sexes, but dominant in men. Compare results to that of Explorers and Builders, which have dominant neurotransmitter chemicals, to see the difference.
Dr Fisher suspects that John McCain is an aggressive, high-testosterone Director. She says I saw a photograph of McCain and noticed that his fourth finger is much longer than his second. Directors are who they are.
Other famous Directors included Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton (whose partner Bill is a Negotiator) and Dr Phil McGraw.
The top word used by Directors in their Chemistry.com profiles is intelligence. (178,000 profiles sample)
The Director’s chief characteristic is competitiveness. It is important for them to be the best in everything they try. They usually achieve that, too. Pragmatic, tough-minded and decisive, Directors are never taken aback by difficult situations. On the contrary, they can keep a level head and make up their minds quickly, even if they are faced with difficult choices.
Directors love rational analysis, logical reasoning and objectivity and are not prone to fall into many traps. They tend to be attentive, paying lots of attention to details and often focus on the minutiae details of their life. This makes their lives easier while they are heading towards that specific goal and they rarely waste time on their way to reaching it.
Directors employ theoretical ways of thinking. They are not afraid to come up with new ideas and work their way to their solution. If that means they have to make unpopular decisions, so be it. Dangerous ways don’t stifle them at all. Their persistence is often the key to their success.
Directors don’t have problems with understanding how machines work or systems operate, which makes them good with computers. Good math and biology skills give them frequent opportunities to succeed in the worlds of finance, medicine or architecture, but they can be good at sports or music, too. Even if their interests are narrow, they tend to pursue them deeply and thoroughly.
However, Directors are sometimes considered to be cold and calculating people who would rather work to reach to their goal, irrespective of the people that need to be trampled upon to get to the goal. Their social skills are not great and they rarely make efforts to seem more social or affable. They can appear distant and cold, only tending to please those who might be useful to them.
Directors’ success can make them overly confident, which can result in arrogance. Their preciseness and punctuality can seem uncompromising and their forthrightness rude. Also, because they don’t tend to ponder over things, they can miss the nuances of social situations and personal feelings. At the same time, though, they are dedicated, loyal and interested in sharing their ideas, which means Directors can make close friends. They can be very protective of those they love.
Directors take dating seriously and are clear in their intentions. And the sparks will fly in the bedroom—Directors have a high sex drive.
(from Chemistry.com since I am this, so if you have text for other personalities, please do share!)
Dating tips for Directors:
(from Chemistry.com since I am this, so if you have the text for the other personalities, please do share!)
- Not everyone is as direct, focused and “to the point” as you are. So make sure you give potential partners the time they need to express themselves. You will probably be surprised at their logic and intellect.
- Your competitive spirit is useful in the office but it doesn’t work in dating–unless you find someone who likes to challenge and debate. When that happens, go for it. Otherwise, try to listen actively.
- Aim at investigating some of the “grey areas” during an invigorating conversation. Much of the world does not see in black and white.
- Separate work from play. Try to get your assignments out of your mind while on a date—so you can truly enjoy your “down time” with a partner.
- Make sure to schedule enough time to get to know someone.
- Try looking directly into the eyes of your partner during a conversation; many people find this “anchoring gaze” a powerful form of intimacy.
Directors are drawn to Negotiators, and vice-versa. In a survey of 28,128 anonymous Chemistry.com members who were paired up with another, Male Directors preferred female Negotiators 38% of the time while preferring Builders least at 16%. Female Directors preferred male Negotiators at a similar 37% to the male preference, and preferred Builders least at 19%. Builders are probably just too traditional and cautious for the bold and unconventional Directors.
The theory behind Directors and Negotiators being drawn to each other is because they compliment each other. Negotiators see the big picture while Directors focus on smaller pieces of the puzzle. Negotiators are skilled at seeing all angles without taking action and Directors are decisive yet don’t often analyze ancillary data. The two types are also compatible socially. Negotiators are good at smoothing over Directors’ inappropriate comments and Directors admire the diplomatic nature of Negotiators. Dr Fisher says of the Director / Negotiator match: They need each others’ skills. The indecisive need the decisive. The tough-minded need the tenderhearted.
Negotiators are a product of high estrogen activity (associated with intuition and creativity). However, this does not mean that men have nothing to do with estrogen. There are lots of male Negotiators , and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s much feminine about them.
Negotiators are imaginative, verbal, intuitive, idealistic, agreeable and introspective. They excel at seeing the big picture, long-term planning and consensus building, all the while being flexible, socially skilled, empathetic and nurturing.
In one sampling (39,913 profiles), Dr Fisher found only 29.1% were Negotiators. The gender difference was 20.4% for men and a whopping 35.8% for women. This difference was massive due to the large sampling size and small error as a result, but it should not be surprising. The dominant chemical, estrogen, is a a sex hormone that is produced by both sexes, but dominant in women. Compare results to that of Explorers and Builders, which have dominant neurotransmitter chemicals, to see the difference.
Famous Directors include Oprah Winfrey, Charles Darwin, the fictional Sherlock Holmes and its creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Bill Clinton (paired with a Director in Hillary Clinton, with whom he “negotiated” their continued marriage after the Lewinski affair no less!).
The top word used by Negotiators in their Chemistry.com profiles is passion. (178,000 profiles sample)
The main characteristics of Negotiators are the way they deal with people and social situations, as their name suggests. They are very good with people and have a strong insight to minds and hearts, almost instinctively knowing what others are thinking and feeling. They are good at reading facial expressions, gestures, postures and tone of voice.
As much as Negotiators are interested in other people, they are also interested in reading themselves, which makes them quite introspective and self-analytical. They like finding behind the reasons of their actions, words, thoughts, motives, hidden meanings, etc. Also, in relationships, they have a tendency to go to great lengths to deeply analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their match.
All this doesn’t mean they’re rigid in their ways. On the contrary, they are mentally quite flexible, weighing up all the pros and cons before reaching any decision. This gives them an opportunity to choose between a lot of different ways how to react to something and how to proceed. The Negotiator’s way of thinking is never linear, rather more contextual, expanding into width rather than length. This makes them very tolerant towards any kind of ambiguity.
Negotiators are considered to be intuitive and creative, with a solid and theoretical way of thinking. They are good with words, being fluent, rapid, innovative and broad with vocabulary. They are also very agreeable, easily accommodating, compassionate, social-minded and patient, friendly, authentic, earnest and diplomatic.
However, there are some downsides to the Negotiators’ ways. Because of their inability to be confrontational, they can sometimes appear spineless. Instead of putting their foot down, they can turn to secretive means, operating behind someone’s back. While they are pondering the means of action, the situations can run past them, sometimes getting out of their hands. The careful reconstruction of every step, word, action and thought in a romantic relationship, going over and over it to come up with even the most subtle meaning behind them can be quite suffocating and tiresome.
Negotiators are drawn to Directors, and vice-versa. In a survey of 28,128 Chemistry.com members who were paired up with another, Male Negotiators preferred female Directors 40% of the time while preferring Builders least at 20%. However, there was a similar non-preference for Explorers and other Negotiators as the male Negotiators may feel he can negotiate his way through, or possibly out, of other predicaments. Female Negotiators, meanwhile, preferred male Directors at 36%, but had a strong dislike for Explorers, preferring them only 14% of the time. However, Dr Fisher pointed out there weren’t enough Negotiator/Explorer pairs in the sample to determine if this were a dependable conclusion. That said, if it were, Dr Fisher speculates that male Explorers probably remind female Negotiators of the “bad boys” they knew in high school and college.
See the Directors’ matching comments for why Directors and Negotiators are drawn to each other.
Matching statistics and likelihoods aside, though, it is very important to note Dr Fisher firmly believes all 10 combinations can work. They can all be superb, as long as the partners continue to respect each other
In the book, I say, “You want to get along with a Director? Ask him what he thinks. You want to get along with an Explorer? Ask him what he does. You want to get along with a Builder? Ask him who he knows. And you want to get along with a Negotiator? Ask him how he feels.” It sounds pigeonholing, but we have personalities that evolved for good reasons. We’re subtle and flexible—but not that subtle and flexible. At the end, I have a chapter on mind mates, soul mates. For example, Negotiators really need intimacy, and they have a certain definition of what it is—face-to-face talk about how you feel. I can’t get that from my Director friends. Or even my Explorer friends. I asked a man I was going out with, “What is intimacy to you?” He said, “Reading in bed at night to you.” So I have to train myself to realize that he’s giving me intimacy even though I don’t feel it. I like it when he reads to me in bed at night, but that’s not my intimacy. You ask me what we’re supposed to get out of this. Are we just giving the biology of these types? No—we’re trying to give tools so you can reach people.
So keep the faith and respect, learn to spot the frogs to avoid unless you like kissing frogs (it’s possible) and good luck!!!