A paper written by Noam Zerubavel, Mark Hoffman, Adam Reich, Kevin Ochsner and Peter Bearman was recently published in PNAS and featured in Psychology Today. The study focused on the ways that we initially like some people more than others in groups and focused on a group of 16 students who participated in the 2014 Summer for Respect program operated and supported by INCITE.
In the paper, the authors discuss how activity in reward networks in the brain increases when meeting someone we like. They designed the study to predict future changes in attraction in groups through fMRI measuring new acquainted group members’ reward network responses to pictures of each other’s faces. Eventually, they conclude that our initial responses can be used to predict whom we like months later and that this mechanism influences the reciprocity of our attractions.