Exploring the Four Brain Chemical Personalities

All about the four brain chemical personalities.

In “Why Him? Why Her?” Helen Fisher provides four vivid, intuitively appealing descriptions of personality – Builders, Directors, Explorers and Negotiators. These personalities can be useful in providing couples with insights on how compatible they truly are with each other.

Can an understanding of these personality types help James, Amber, Paul and Danielle deepen their intuitive sense of whether they can be soulmates and share a lifetime together?

Some of these traits may appear to be appealing, very relatable, somewhat relatable, or not relatable at all when taking them into consideration about a future partner. Pay particular attention to the traits that leave you feeling dispassionate or indifferent. Read on for examples of these four brain chemical personalities.

The Builder: Amber

Amber is a Builder: she is loyal, conscientious, prizes duty and proper moral conduct and has a deep respect for authority. She’s extremely conventional, admires and follows social norms and is a superb rule-keeper. She excels at tasks requiring sustained attention and repetition; nothing pleases Amber more than making plans and keeping schedules. She thinks concretely, is detail-oriented and cautious, but not fearful. Not only this, but Amber is affable, socially-skilled and superb at managing people at work, in her family and in social circles.

However, Amber tends to be dogmatic, closed-minded and stubborn. With her emphasis on detail, she sometimes fails to appreciate emotional subtleties and misses nuances. Neuroscientists would say Amber runs largely on serotonin, which elevates her estrogen and triggers oxytocin, all of which contribute to her affability. The serotonin also suppresses her testosterone and dopamine which enhance her placidity and self-confidence.

The Director: Paul

Paul is a Director: he’s decisive in making decisions, prizes logic, reasoning and analysis. He’s concrete, direct, practical and excels at concentrating narrowly and deeply on problems. He loves hypothesis testing, investigation and analysis. On top of these, he is confident, resourceful, autonomous, competitive, frequently aggressive, always disciplined, hard-working and ambitious.

Despite this, Paul tends to view loss of self-control as a weakness and is less inclined to be polite, respectful, friendly or considerate of people who don’t share his vision or ideas. Neuroscientists would say Paul runs largely on testosterone, which facilitates his discipline and concentration.

The Negotiator: Danielle

Danielle is a Negotiator: she’s extremely empathetic, intuitive, deeply introspective and excels at picking up subtle facial clues. She’s generous, forgiving, altruistic and trusting –- sometimes verging on gullible. She loves to work from her gut feelings, excels at tolerating ambiguity, enjoys reflecting on broader meanings, generalizing and thinking holistically. Not only is she accomplished at perceiving in unhabitual, imaginative ways, but she is emotionally expressive with words.

Amidst this, Danielle is overly self-conscious and frequently haunted by sorrow and self-doubt. She is weak on attention to detail, and when provoked, can be harsh with words. Neuroscientists would say Danielle runs largely on estrogen and oxytocin, which fuel her strong desire to connect with others.

The Explorer: James

James is an Explorer, the least judgmental of the four types: he’s unconventional, deeply autonomous and seeks adventures of the mind and senses. He’s curious, intense, spontaneous, impulsive and frequently impatient. He seeks novelty, is often extravagantly generous, tends to resist strict standards of conduct and may unwittingly trample on established rules and traditions.

However, James can also be quite narcissistic and reclusive when forced into tedious schedules. Neuroscientists would say James runs largely on dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which trigger his testosterone.

Evaluating the Personalities

What are the odds of James and Amber being true soulmates? James, the Explorer, would likely treasure Amber, the Builder’s, loyalty and admire her cheerfulness and affability. Amber would admire his curiosity and be moved by his generosity. But wouldn’t James’ propensity to trample on established rules and traditions grate on Amber? Wouldn’t her love of repetition bore him to tears as her dogmatism and close-mindedness drive him up the wall?

What about Paul and Danielle? Paul the Director would admire her gift for empathy, her generosity and altruism. However, wouldn’t he feel burdened, even emotionally drained, by Danielle, the Negotiator’s, frequent bouts of sorrow and self-doubt? Danielle would surely admire Paul’s confidence, resourcefulness and ambition. But wouldn’t his impatience, impoliteness and tendency to dismiss people who don’t share his vision weigh on her in the long run?

There are no easy answers to how successful these interesting people would be in the long-term as lovers. However, the most important thing they could do in achieving a deeper understanding of their potential as soulmates is to avoid what social psychologist J. M. Gottman calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” These account for 85% of divorces:

  1. They can cultivate curiosity and avoid attacking each other when they disagree.
  2. They can accept responsibility when they screw up and avoid defensiveness.
  3. When they’re angry, they can avoid making insulting or abusive comments to each other.
  4. They should never stonewall, emotionally withdraw or stop listening to one another.

Knowing your personality type will allow you to be aware of which you could potentially be most compatible with. Take Helen Fisher’s personality quiz to find out if you are a Builder, Director, Negotiator or Explorer.

If you feel stressed in facing any of these challenges with your partner and are looking for insights about keeping your relationship healthy and stable, don’t wait to seek help. Give Marriage Couples Counseling in New York City a call at 212-673-4618 for an in-depth phone consultation.

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