Scientific speed dating


AS A PSYCHOLOGIST, I have always found the concept of speed dating fascinating.

During a series of mini dates, each spanning no more than a couple of minutes, participants in a speed-dating event evaluate a succession of eligible singles.

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It sounds simple, but each variable in the design of the event can affect the daters’ outcomes.

In spite of maxims about so many fish in the sea, for example, recent research tells us that the heart prefers a smaller pond.

Additionally, in speed-dating events where the characteristics of the daters varied much more, most participants did not follow up with any of their matches.

Results observed in the world of online dating support this finding.

Even if meet-and-greet matching events might seem like the most efficient way to comb through many options at once, a wealth of data reveals that the context in which we make a choice weighs heavily on the outcome.