Online dating has become a very popular way to find a romantic partner. In the present study, we examined whether romantic interest and rejection in such a setting would evoke differential electrocortical and cardiac responses. For this purpose a database was created, similar to a dating website, where the participants’ personal information and photos were placed. Heterosexual, single participants (N = 61) evaluated the profiles of opposite-sex potential romantic partners and decided whether they would like to date this person or not. Subsequently, participants passively viewed (34 analyzable volunteers participated in the EEG session; 10 male; mean age = 20) the pictures of the potential partners together with their own judgment about the “dateability” of the potential partner, and the potential partner’s judgment of the “dateability” of the participant. After viewing the pictures participants received the email addresses to contact their matches. Electrocortical and cardiac responses to these “match” or “non-match” judgments were measured. A significantly larger P3 response was found when participants received a positive evaluation as compared to negative evaluations. This is in line with an explanation in terms of reward. A significantly larger cardiac deceleration was found when participants received a negative evaluation as compared to positive evaluations, which is in line with an explanation in terms of social pain. Findings are discussed in terms of activation of different parts of the anterior cingulate cortex.

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Keywords Romantic Rejection, Social Feedback, P3, Heart Rate, Cardiac Slowing
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Journal Biological Psychology
van der Veen, F.M, Burdzina, A., & Langeslag, S.J.E. (2019). Don’t you want me, baby? Cardiac and Electrocortical Concomitants of Romantic Interest and Rejection. Biological Psychology. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.05.007