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The study was focused on the neural mechanisms behind snap judgments—how those judgments relate to long-term romantic success, he says, is another question.In addition to Cooper and O'Doherty, the other authors of the paper are Caltech graduate student Simon Dunne and Teresa Furey of Trinity College Dublin.

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.

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 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.

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.