Welcome to the Anthropology Department

Helen Fisher

  • Image
  • Visiting Research Associate
  • Specialization: Human sexuality, gender differences, mate choice, romantic love, evolution of the brain
  • Degree and University: PhD, University of Colorado, 1975
  • HelenFisher@HelenFisher.com
  • Office: Ruth Adams Building, Room 315
  • Phone: (212) 744-9870
  • https://helenfisher.com/


Dr. Helen E. Fisher is a Visiting Research Associate and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. From 1984 to 1994 she was a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at The American Museum of Natural History. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology at the University of Colorado with a dissertation on the evolution of human female sexuality and the origin of the nuclear family.

Dr. Fisher has been on the national lecture circuit since l983 discussing the evolution of human sexuality, marriage and divorce, gender differences in the brain and behavior, and the future of men, women, business, sex and family life. Her lectures include speeches at the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Michigan, the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, Planned Parenthood of NYC, the U.S Department of Agriculture, the American Menopause Foundation, the Brookings Institution, Bank of America, Salomon Smith Barney, Fortune Magazine, Columbia Business School, and the American Press Institute, as well as academic and business conferences in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. During 1994-95 Dr. Fisher lectured on college campuses as a Visiting Scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. View a copy of Dr. Fisher's curriculum vitae.



WHY WE LOVE: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love was published by Henry Holt in February, 2004. It discusses Fisher's research project with colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and SUNY Stony Brook in which she used fMRI brain scanning to investigate the brain circuitry of romantic love, a primary mating drive. It also discusses her research on animal attraction, the other primary mating drives (lust and attachment), who we choose to love, love and hate, controlling love and the impact of romantic love on 21st century social life. It is a selection of the Scientific American Book Club, the Discovery Channel Book Club and a Main Selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club. WHY WE LOVE currently has twelve foreign language editions.

Read excerpts of this book here.


THE FIRST SEX: The Natural Talents of Women and How They are Changing the World was published by Random House in 1999 and Ballantine (Paperback) in 2000. It discusses gender differences in the brain and behavior and the impact of women on 21st century business, sex and family life. It has fourteen foreign language editions and was selected as a "Notable Book of 1999" by the New York Times Book Review.

Read excerpts of this book here.


ANATOMY OF LOVE: The Natural History of Monogamy, Adultery and Divorce was published by W.W. Norton in 1992 and Fawcett paperbacks in 1994. The book examines divorce in 62 societies, adultery in 42 cultures and patterns of monogamy and desertion in birds and mammals to offer a theory for the evolution of serial marriage and the future of human family life. It was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club, and chosen as a "Notable Book" of 1992 and 1994 by The New York Times Book Review. It has eighteen foreign language editions. Dr. Fisher was the host a four-part TV series, also entitled "Anatomy of Love," which aired on Turner Broadcasting Systems in 1995.

Read excerpts of this book here.


THE SEX CONTRACT: The Evolution of Human Behavior, was published by William Morrow in l982 and Quill in l983. It was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month-Club and had seven foreign language editions.

Other Publications

In addition to the books listed above, Dr. Fisher's publications include articles in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, Journal of Neurophysiology, J Forensic Sciences, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, Neuroendocrinology Letters, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science, The Journal of NIH Research, The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Human Nature, The New York Times Book Review, Psychology Today, Natural History, Scientific American, New Scientist, The Sciences: Journal of The New York Academy of Sciences, On Air:BBC International Magazine and books published by Smithsonian Press, Greenwood Press, Columbia University Press, Cambridge University Press, Rutgers University Press and Yale University Press.

Association Memberships

Dr. Fisher is a member/fellow in several associations, including: the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The New York Academy of Sciences, the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research.

Consulting Activities

Since l983 Dr. Fisher has served as an anthropological commentator and consultant for businesses and the media. Her contracts include those with NBC?s Today Show, WNET TV (New York), The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Reader's Digest, Time-Life books, Match.com, Roper Starch Worldwide, Procter and Gamble, National Starch and Chemical Co. and Leo Burnett. She was the host of a four-part TV series, Anatomy of Love, for Turner Broadcasting Systems in 1995 and the host of a four-part radio series, What Is Love?, for the BBC World Service in 2004. For her work in communicating anthropology to the lay public, Helen has received the American Anthropological Association's "Distinguished Service Award."

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