The RMPFC has been previously associated with consideration of other people's thoughts, comparisons of oneself to others, and, in particular, perceptions of similarities with others.
This suggests that in addition to physical attractiveness, the researchers say, people consider individual compatibility.
It's generally not a good idea to ask someone where he or she lives until you know them a little better, and asking what they do for a living isn't considered very original.
It's wise to avoid weighty or sensitive areas such as politics and religion, and as far as your own answers go, you won't be showing yourself in the best light if you rattle on about your previous dates, how you miss your ex and how much you used to love sex!
For example, if her response to the first question is "I'd see Nickelback in Japan", you can reply several different ways: I don't know much about Japanese culture, but Xating LOVE sushi - it's one wht my favorite things to eat!
What is it specifically about Japan that you're drawn to?
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.
The participants listed those they wanted to see again; if there were any matches, each person in the pair was given the other's contact information.
The study, which is published in the November 7 issue of the , 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 consequences—such 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 (f MRI) machine and then shown pictures of potential dates of the opposite sex.
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.
When some participants saw a person they wanted to date—but who was not rated as very desirable by everyone else—they showed more activation in the rostromedial prefrontal cortex (RMPFC), which is also a part of the DMPFC, but sits farther in front than the paracingulate cortex.
The paracingulate cortex, in particular, has been shown to be active when the brain is comparing options.