Walk along a road staring at your iPhone, glance up, see a male, instantly decide if he's hot or not.
That's a 50-times-a-day situation. But it turns out that in that split second you really do make up your mind about someone.
According to new research by the University of Freiburg, it takes a matter of mere milliseconds after seeing someone for the first time for a person's brain to determine whether or not that person is "likeable."
Psychologist Dr. Bastian Schiller from the university identified the subconscious process we use to process social data such as likability or antipathy.
The science bit: Schiller and the team used the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a psychological exam which measures the strength of a person's automatic association between concepts and attributes in memory to gauge reactions to new ideas (or in this case, new people).
So, basically they used electrical neuro-imaging to understand how long it takes you to make up your mind about someone, as well as mapping the entire chain of mental processes that get you to that decision.
And the answer is it takes no time at all. So as unrealistic as love at first sight sounds, it actually isn't some rom-com myth, it's scientific fact.
...and so is hate at first sight.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.