Speed dating format
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.
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.
One speed-dating company in New York City, for example, holds a gathering almost every day.
Last year online coupon company Groupon hosted the world’s largest speed-dating event, with 414 attendees crammed into a restaurant in Chicago.
I made some beginner’s mistakes; however, I am not alone in having struggled with speed dating.
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.
Prior research by Lenton and Francesconi provides some insight into why people might struggle with speed dating.
They found that when the number of participants in a speed-dating event increases, people lean more heavily on innate guidelines, known as heuristics, in their decision making.
It sounds simple, but each variable in the design of the event can affect the daters’ outcomes.