In our fast-paced, consumer-driven society, we often believe — wrongly — that more choices are always better. But as we’ve shown time and time again, too many choices is just as bad as too few choices.
Nowhere is this more true than in the world of dating, where previous research has demonstrated the downsides of too many online dating choices. That’s why online dating websites like Match.com work hard to try and limit your choices (although they don’t always do a good job at it). And that’s why eHarmony makes a big deal about using personality characteristics to match you at a “deeper level” (there’s no research to back eHarmony’s claims — it’s just marketing).
Today, we add yet another study to the pile of research demonstrating the downfalls of too much choice.
In a simple study examining differently sized speed dating events, researchers found that people made more shallow decisions at the events with more participants than those were fewer participants:
At bigger speed dating events, with 24 or more dates, both male and female choosers were more likely to decide based on attributes that could be judged quickly, such as their dates’ height, and whether they were underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
At smaller events, choosers were more likely to make decisions based on attributes that take longer to identify and evaluate, such as their dates’ level of education, their type of job, and whether or not the person smokes.
Obviously, choosing a date on these “deeper” attributes — not just physical attraction or looks — is more ideal. There’s no single attribute that leads to a guaranteed hookup or a longer-lasting relationship, but previous research suggests that once in a relationship, it’s the similarities that keep us together and allow us to grow. Too many differences — especially on significant issues like money or children — will seemingly always hurt a relationship in the long run.
So at your next speed dating event, choose the smaller event over the larger one. You’ll make better decisions based upon more qualities that really matter in the long run.
Read the full news story: More Not Always Merrier When Selecting Mates
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Apr 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2010). More Dating Choices = More Shallow Decisions. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/04/16/more-dating-choices-more-shallow-decisions/