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This effect was particularly strong when individuals were faced with a large number of partners.
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.
I made some beginner’s mistakes; however, I am not alone in having struggled with speed dating.
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.
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.
It sounds simple, but each variable in the design of the event can affect the daters’ outcomes.
Last year online coupon company Groupon hosted the world’s largest speed-dating event, with 414 attendees crammed into a restaurant in Chicago.
Start-up companies now meet with investors, pregnant couples interact with doulas, and homeless dogs court potential owners, all using the speed-dating format.
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.
These rules of thumb are evolutionarily adaptive, however, and not necessarily a bad thing.
Results observed in the world of online dating support this finding.