Speed dating for research
The authors found that when the available prospects varied more in attributes such as age, height, occupation and educational background, people made fewer dating proposals.This effect was particularly strong when individuals were faced with a large number of partners.In essence, heuristics are ingrained rules of thumb that allow us to save effort by ignoring some of the information available to us when we evaluate our options.For example, in those events with a relatively large number of participants, the researchers discovered that people attend predominantly to easily accessible features, such as age, height, physical attractiveness, and so forth, rather than clues that are harder to observe, for example, occupation and educational achievement.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.When the buzzer sounds, half of the singles move to another chair and a different partner, in a kind of round robin.After the event is over, the daters submit to the event’s organizers the names of the individuals they would like to see again.
Some years ago I caved to my curiosity and tried it out myself. When the little buzzer went off after three minutes, I often found myself still trying to explain to my bedazzled dating partner why my last name has four syllables (it is Dutch).
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.
Speed-dating events can promote a particular decision-making style that might not always work in our favor.
Yet we need not be passive victims of our circumstances.
Knowing how your environment influences your mind-set, a quality known as ecological rationality, can help you make the choices that are best for you.
AS A PSYCHOLOGIST, I have always found the concept of speed dating fascinating.