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Snap judgments during speed dating
Date:11/12/2012

PASADENA, Calif.For speed daters, first impressions are everything. But it's more than just whether someone is hot or not.

Whether or not we like to admit it, we all may make snap judgments about a new face. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in speed dating, during which people decide on someone's romantic potential in just a few seconds. How they make those decisions, however, is not well understood.

But now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that people make such speed-dating decisions based on a combination of two different factors that are related to activity in two distinct parts of the brain.

Unsurprisingly, the first factor in determining whether someone gets a lot of date requests is physical attractiveness. The second factor, which may be less obvious, involves people's own individual preferenceshow compatible a potential partner may be, for instance.

The study, which is published in the November 7 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, is one of the first to look at what happens in the brain when people make rapid-judgment decisions that carry real social consequences, the researchers say.

"Psychologists have known for some time that people can often make very rapid judgments about others based on limited information, such as appearance," says John O'Doherty, professor of psychology and one of the paper's coauthors. "However, very little has been known about how this might work in real social interactions with real consequencessuch as when making decisions about whether to date someone or not. And almost nothing is known about how this type of rapid judgment is made by the brain."

In the study, 39 heterosexual male and female volunteers were placed in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and then shown pictures of potential dates of the opposite sex. They were given four seconds to rate, on a scale from 1 to 4, how much they woul
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Contact: Brian Bell
bpbell@caltech.edu
626-395-5832
California Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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