Speed dating research

After cycling through as many as 90 faces, the participants then rated the faces again—outside the f MRI machine—on attractiveness and likeability on a scale from 1 to 9.Later, the volunteers participated in a real speed-dating event, in which they spent five minutes talking to some of the potential dates they had rated in the f MRI machine.PASADENA, Calif.—For speed daters, first impressions are everything.But it's more than just whether someone is hot 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 (f MRI) 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 would want to date that person.Seeing someone who was deemed attractive (and who also ended up with more date requests) was associated with activity in a region of the rater's brain called the paracingulate cortex, a part of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), which is an important area for cognitive control and decision making.

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In other words, nearly everyone considers physical attraction when judging a potential romantic partner, and that judgment is correlated with activity in the paracingulate cortex."But that's not the only thing that's happening," Cooper adds.

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 preferences—how compatible a potential partner may be, for instance.

But it's important: Meeting scientists from other disciplines can spark a new research idea or open the door to a solution to a problem that has seemed intractable.

The Weill Cornell Medical College Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), headed by Julianne Imperato-Mc Ginley, took a novel approach to overcoming the challenge of forming scientific relationships: We organized a "speed networking" event that brought together researchers from CTSC's institutions--Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Hospital for Special Surgery, Hunter College, and Cornell University--and from three New York-area community hospitals.

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