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.
They make split-second decisions on matters of the heart, creating a pool of information on one of the more ineffable yet vital questions of our time—how we select our mates.
Start-up companies now meet with investors, pregnant couples interact with doulas, and homeless dogs court potential owners, all using the speed-dating format.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).As you might imagine, I did not find the love of my life.I made some beginner’s mistakes; however, I am not alone in having struggled with speed dating.A study in 2008 by Lenton and Barbara Fasolo of the London School of Economics and Political Science indicates that participants often misjudge how the number of options available to them will affect their feelings.
Participants presented with a broad array of potential partners more closely aligned with their anticipated ideal did not experience greater emotional satisfaction than when presented with fewer options.
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.
Very generally speaking, good looks and youthful vigor are indeed useful metrics for mating because they signal health.
Yet if lifelong love is what you are after, a smorgasbord of singles might propel you to make stereotypical selections.
Speed dating, by comparison, offers the opportunity to chat up many eligible singles in rapid succession.