Researchers from Trinity College in Dublin claim that different regions of the medial prefrontal cortex, located at the front of the brain, are responsible for our judgement based on physical attraction, which within a few milliseconds can indicate the “ideal” partner.
Speed-dating in the name of science
151 heterosexual single women and men took part in the original study.
Before starting the experiment, 39 of the participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), while were being shown the images of people they were going to meet during the next phase of the experiment, and in consequence evaluated each of them with rate from 1 to 4, with 4 corresponding to the “I really want to go out with him”.
To find out what really happens at first glance, in the next days the scientists organized a speed-dating evening where participants were moving in a circular room and talking to everyone for five minutes. After that the experts asked the volunteers to indicate the person they would like to see again.
As the results of the speed-dating evening showed, the volunteers had a very good opinion about the people they liked by picture. The researchers found that the primary interest of those who had undergone MRI towards those depicted in the pictures was 63% real during their face-to-face meeting.
“The truth is that we laughed a lot during the study and hope someday to get a marriage invitation card, however till now we have not received anything,” jokingly says doctoral student in psychology and the study’s researcher Jeffrey Cooper.
During the “erotic judgement”, a particular region of the medial prefrontal cortex, called PCC (Paracingulate cortex), seemed to “get heat”. According to the scientists, the intense activity recorded at this point is related to our final erotic choices.