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Helen Fisher
Neuroscientist 
 Anthropologist
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Helen Fisher
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Internationally-renowned neuroscientist and biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher is a pioneer in the biology of human personality and the neurochemistry of leadership. Named a TED All-Star and one of “the 15 most amazing women in science today” by Business Insider, Dr. Fisher has given the world a new way to look at relationships and “corporate chemistry.” Her groundbreaking research has shown how understanding the biology behind personality styles can be used to build teams and corporate boards, advertise, innovate, and succeed at work.

The Chief Scientific Advisor for Match.com, Dr. Fisher has developed The Fisher Temperament Inventory. Taken by over 14 million people in 40 countries, the Inventory is the first and only personality questionnaire built from and validated by neuroscience (using fMRI brain scanning). Her discovery of the four basic biological styles of thinking and behaving — Explorer, Builder, Director, and Negotiator — represents the biggest leap in personality tools in the last 100 years.

Dr. Fisher is the Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of NeuroColor, a revolutionary business consulting and training firm. Her work reveals how to recognize and influence each personality style, increasing the effectiveness of teams and improving our understanding of how individuals collaborate, resolve conflict, sell, innovate, and lead.

Along with her concept of the four thinking styles, Fisher’s research from NeuroColor was profiled in Harvard Business Review’s 2017 March-April issue, The New Science of Teamwork, and in the 2017 book, The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance by Hans W. Hagemann and Friederike Fabritus.

A consultant for Procter & Gamble and American Express, Dr. Fisher helped VISA understand card usage data and Deloitte University create stronger customer services. She has addressed audiences at Fortune, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, The World Economic Forum, SXSW, The Economist’s Ideas Economy, and the G-20. She has delivered three TED Talks, which have been viewed by more than 12 million people worldwide.

A Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and an Anthropologist at Rutgers University, Dr. Fisher is the most referenced scholar in the field of love and relationships in the world today. A documentary film based on her work, Sleepless in New York, premiered in April 2014. She has written five bestsellers on the neuroscience behind human social behavior, including Why Him? Why Her? and the 1994 classic Anatomy of Love, which was released in a second edition in February 2016.

In addition to appearing on 20/20, Charlie Rose, and The Colbert Report, her articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, Frontiers in Psychology, and Newsweek, where she examined the leadership styles of Presidential nominees.

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Videos
  • The Economist: Corporate Chemistry
  • Personality Types: 4 Biological Styles of Thinking & Behaving
  • Dr. Fisher at PopTech: The Biology of Love and Personality (2014)
  • A Neurochemical Profile of Clinton, Sanders, and Trump (2016)
  • Fisher at Aspen Ideas Festival (2017)
  • Helen Fisher on Colbert Report (2009)
  • Personality Types: Are You Chemically Compatible? (2009)
  • TED Talk: The Brain in Love (2008)
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Speaking Topics
Corporate Chemistry: How Different People Think and Work

Neuroscientist and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher distinguishes four broad styles of thinking and behaving, based on the brain systems for dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen/oxytocin. Using the Fisher Temperament Inventory — taken by 14 million people in 40 countries and the only personality questionnaire built from and validated by neuroscience (using fMRI) — Dr. Fisher shows how knowledge of these biologically-based personality styles can be used to build teams, construct corporate boards, advertise and sell. 
 
In “Corporate Chemistry,” Dr. Fisher gives detailed data on how to recognize and connect with each temperament type, including: what to avoid; how materials should be presented; the words and body language to employ; each type’s strongest skill set; how to recognize signs of trouble when interacting with each personality style; and how individuals of each temperament dimension are predisposed to think, work, buy, innovate, follow and lead. 

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Better Teams: Why Brain Biology and Diversity of Mind Make a Big Difference

For millions of years, our forebears survived by working together, in teams. With time, humanity evolved four broad styles of thinking and behaving that together make effective teams. Dr. Fisher applauds the drive to create diversity in teams by including those from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, genders and life styles. But cultural diversity is only half of the solution. The other half is brain biology — diversity of mind.  

In this presentation, Fisher uses her brain scanning data (fMRI) and cross cultural research to explore four biologically-based styles of thinking and behaving associated with the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems in the brain — as well as the aptitudes (and pitfalls) of each thinking style, and what each personality dimension can contribute to an effective team:  

  • Creative Intelligence 

    emanates from the dopamine system and contributes outside-the-box thinking, risk tolerance and inspiration.

  • Logistical Intelligence 

    is associated with the serotonin system and contributes concrete ideas, careful planning and managerial expertise.

  • Technical Intelligence 

    emanates from the testosterone system, contributing skepticism, experimental strategies and designs, and decisiveness.

  • Emotional Intelligence 

    springs largely from the estrogen system and contributes insight, context and consensus.

Then Dr. Fisher shows how team members can best understand one another and together spark innovation and progress.  

If you want to generate fresh perspectives and genuine diversity on your teams, in your think-tanks, at your conferences, on your Board, you need to look beyond cultural variations and incorporate the natural mechanism for composing teams: the biology of mind.

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The Neuroscience of Innovation

The first stone tools; controlling fire; the wheel; the steam engine; the printing press; the computer: humanity has been innovating for at least two million years. Many thinkers and business leaders have focused on the “right environment” to spur innovation. However, no one discusses the biological styles of thinking and behaving that naturally stimulate innovation. Until now.  

Pioneers like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Richard Branson all innovate and lead in ways that stem from their different styles of thinking and behaving.  

Drawing from her own innovation, the Fisher Temperament Inventory — the first and only personality questionnaire built from and validated by neuroscience (using fMRI brain scanning) — neuroscientist and biological anthropologist Dr. Fisher discusses: 1) the role of brain biology and personality in innovation; 2) the natural composition of teams; and 3) introduces four basic biological styles of thinking and behaving, each linked with one of four broad neurochemical systems in the brain: the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems. She explores how each personality “type” is predisposed to innovate and suggests how to stimulate your own natural innovative style.    

Explorers — Individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with the dopamine system tend to seek novelty and tolerate risk; they are curious, energetic, spontaneous, optimistic, and mentally flexible. Explores are predisposed to “idea generation” and tactical intelligence.  They are most likely to innovate with new concepts.    

Builders — Individuals who primarily express the traits linked with the serotonin system tend to think concretely; they like plans, routines, schedules and traditions. They are often meticulous, rule-observing, self controlled, and modest. Builders display logistical intelligence, and they are particularly likely to invent new processes and procedures.

Directors — Individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with testosterone tend to be experimental, direct, decisive, tough-minded, skeptical, and exacting. Directors excel at “systems thinking” and are predisposed to strategic intelligence. They are most likely to invent new technical devices.  

Negotiators — Individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with estrogen excel at verbal and people skills; they are also intuitive, imaginative, empathetic, and big picture thinkers. Negotiators are predisposed to “web thinking” and diplomatic intelligence. They are particularly likely to innovate with new services.    

History is filled with innovators who fit these personality styles. From George Washington, Beethoven, and Albert Einstein to Gloria Steinem, Meg Whitman, and Bill Clinton, different styles yield different methods and results. In “The Neuroscience of Innovation,” Dr. Helen Fisher shows how you can capitalize on your own style of creativity and reach into the minds of others —to work effectively together and stimulate innovation.  

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Romance, Lust & Attachment: The Drive to Love; Who We Choose; and The Future of Relationships in Our Digital Age

Is technology changing love? Is monogamy natural? Why do you fall in love with one person rather than another? How can you use neuroscience to keep love alive? And where are we headed in our digital age.

Anthropologist and neuroscientist Dr. Helen Fisheruses her brain scanning work (fMRI) to discuss three brain systems that evolved for mating and reproduction–the sex drive; romantic love; and attachment; and maintains that these basic mating instincts will not alter due to Internet dating. But the Internet is changing how we court and who we choose.  Hooking up? Friends with Benefits?  Polyamory? Fisher then uses her data on 35,000 single Americans to explain modern dating tactics—from Millennials to Seniors—and the newest trend in courtship, what she calls “slow love.” She also proposes that humanity has evolved four broad basic styles of thinking and behaving which draw us naturally toward one person rather than another—in love and business. And she discusses the biological underpinnings of love at first sight, love addiction, adultery and divorce. Last she shows some of the brain circuitry of long-term romantic happiness and explains how to use neuroscience to keep love alive.

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The Biology of Leadership

Does Barack Obama think like Abraham Lincoln? What do George Washington and Mitt Romney have in common? How about  Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, or Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

Some 50% of who we are stems from our temperament, our individual biology, and different types of people naturally lead in very different ways. Using data collected from her questionnaire, which has been taken by 14 million people in 40 countries, as well as her knowledge of genetics and neuroscience, Dr. Helen Fisher discusses four styles of thinking and behaving based on specific brain systems and shows how each style is predisposed to think and lead.

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The Neuroscience of Advertising, Marketing, and Sales

Why do some ads make an unexpected hit while others are a flop for no apparent reason?  It may well be the result of natural brain wiring.   Human beings are built to think, act—and buy—in specific patterns.  Neuroscientist and biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher has uncovered four broad human styles of thinking and behaving, associated with the brain systems for dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen.  Her data are substantiated by her questionnaire, the Fisher Temperament Inventory, now taken by 14 million people in 40 countries and the only extant personality test constructed directly from and validated by neuroscience, using fMRI.  In this speech, she discusses these personality dimensions to show how specific ads can either entice or repel each of these personality styles — as well as how to sell and market directly to the human mind.

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The Female Mind: Born to Lead

Worried about the bottom line?  There’s a potent resource nearby.  Using her brain scanning studies (fMRI) and her questionnaire now taken by 13 million people in 40 countries, neuroscientist and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher reports that as women move into the paid workforce around the world, they bring some innate–and powerful–talents to a business climate that needs these female skills.  But women vary in how they use their biologically-based capacities to lead.  So Fisher dissects basic, yet profound, gender differences in the brain and behavior to show how the sexes think, act and lead differently, how different types of women naturally lead in different ways, and how women’s ancient abilities are becoming priceless assets to the modern bottom line. 

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Are Men and Women Wired Differently? Gender Differences in the Brain

Why can’t a man be just like a woman? Why can’t a woman be just like a man?

For her book, “The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World, ”Dr. Helen Fisher has extensively studied gender differences in the brain and behavior. In this talk,  Dr. Fisher explores how women’s “web thinking,” intuition, mental flexibility, long-term planning, creativity, and verbal and social skills — as well as their different views of power and leadership — create undeniable win-win strategies in business. 

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The NEUROSCIENCE OF Teaching & LEARNING

How do we learn? Educators and scientists have long examined the environmental conditions that spur learning; yet no one discusses the learner’s natural biological style of learning or the educator’s natural style of teaching. In this presentation, anthropologist/neuroscientist Dr. Helen Fisher discusses four basic biological styles of thinking and behaving, each linked with one of four broad neurochemical systems in the brain. She discusses how each personality “type” is predisposed to learn and shows how to stimulate their educational attainment.  Explorers (individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with dopamine) are curious, energetic, spontaneous, optimistic, mentally flexible and predisposed to “idea generation.” They excel when first given theory, even when not based in fact. Builders (individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with serotonin) tend to think concretely; they like plans, schedules and traditions; and they are often meticulous, rule-observing and modest. Builders excel when addressing concrete topics and need to be given the details first. Directors, (individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with testosterone) tend to be experimental, direct, decisive, tough-minded, skeptical, and exacting. Directors learn best through logical “step thinking” and hands-on technical experimentation. Negotiators, (individuals primarily expressive of the traits linked with estrogen), excel at verbal and people skills; they are also intuitive, imaginative, empathetic, diplomatic and contextual ‘big picture’ thinkers. Negotiators are predisposed to “web thinking;” they like to assemble a host of ancillary data as they learn. In this talk, Fisher gives many examples of how to educate people of different thinking styles; how to better match students with mentors, tutors and guidance counselors; and how to compose classroom teams to more naturally reach into the minds of learners and produce more effective classroom communication and individual learning.  

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*A Special Note on the Fisher Temperament Inventory

In Dr. Fisher’s speech, she may make reference to the Fisher Temperament Inventory, a four-part personality examination that is central to her research. 14 million people worldwide have taken the FTI to discover their own personality styles. Now, you and your attendees may experience her findings firsthand, too.
 
To prepare for your event, consider taking the Fisher Temperament Inventory and distributing it to your attendees. This will allow for a more interactive and immersive experience, as well as a stronger understanding of Dr. Fisher’s work and yourself.
 
Click here to view a PDF version of the Fisher Temperament Inventory

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Books & Other Works
  • Harvard Business Review: The New Science of Teamwork
  • Anatomy of Love
  • Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love
  • The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They are Changing the World
  • Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love
  • The Sex Contract: The Evolution of Human Behavior
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Testimonials
“Helen was a complete and inspiring success at our annual mediaFWD event. Everyone was buzzing about her presentation for days afterwards. They still are!”
Hill Holiday
“I have talked to everyone who attended the Fisher dinner. They have offered only good remarks. Most attendees noted that the program was special, calling it 'fascinating,' 'one of the best programs I have been to,' 'exciting,' and 'great to hear a topic that was anthropological as well as psychological.' I took two weeks following the dinner off. When I walked into the offices on Monday, it was still fresh in their memory.”
GlaxoSmithKline
“Dr. Fisher's insights were exceptional and I personally appreciate the attention she gave to our particular needs. Her content was spot on for this audience of global leaders.”
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
“Dr. Fisher was great, just as you said she would be!”
MF - International Monetary Fund
“Helen Fisher's Keynote presentation we Fantastic. It fit so well with the rest of the conference and built nicely on the other two keynote presentations. Was a perfect way to end. Much to think about and some great insights.”
International Baccalaureate Organization-Singapore
“Just want you to know that we had a wonderful time with Helen Fisher yesterday. What a fascinating, brilliant, kind woman.”
Grand Valley State University
“We were challenged by your thinking, charmed by your grace and delighted by your humor.”
Cornell University
“Dr. Fisher was great to work with. Full house, great presentation, she’d still be here doing Q&A if we didn’t cut the audience off and send them home.”
Maryland Science Center
“I'm getting an overwhelmingly positive response on the speech you gave...People found the material, and you, very compelling.”
Deloitte
“Everyone loved Helen’s presentation – she’s a terrific speaker and her presentation was received very well. I heard it echoed many times that it was the best presentation of the meeting.
All was great at lunch too. She’s terrific and hope to work with her again.”
Society of Cosmetic Scientists
“Your presentations were incredible…the best I have seen.”
FACES conference on Counseling Skills for Couples Therapists
“It’s amazing what you have accomplished at Chemistry.com. Your Personality Test, which we believe to be the next generation Myers-Briggs, has helped to bring together thousands of singles. And as usual, we were incredibly impressed with your presentation yesterday.”
Match.com
“We want to offer a heartfelt thank you for delivering such an informative and entertaining talk last night as part of our The Brain: An Owner’s Guide lecture series. Your presentation was fascinating from beginning to end and the audience was demonstrably impressed by your research advances in brain chemistry. We feel truly fortunate to have had you as part of our series.”
University of Texas at Dallas
“Thank you for contributing so significantly to our efforts at the Ideas Festival.”
The Aspen Institute
“Dr. Fisher gave a brilliant presentation at the Eating Disorder, Compulsions and Substance Abuse meeting last spring.”
William Alanson White Institute
“We were inspired by your speech, as indeed we are by your work and your wisdom, your humor and your humility. You give everyone in the field something to shoot for.”
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
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