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.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.These rules of thumb are evolutionarily adaptive, however, and not necessarily a bad thing.Millions of years of experimentation with different heuristics, conducted in a range of environments, have led us to learn which ones are most effective.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.
Last year online coupon company Groupon hosted the world’s largest speed-dating event, with 414 attendees crammed into a restaurant in Chicago.
Speed dating, by comparison, offers the opportunity to chat up many eligible singles in rapid succession.
In a typical speed-dating event, participants pair off at individual tables and chairs for a few minutes of conversation.
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.
Prior research by Lenton and Francesconi provides some insight into why people might struggle with speed dating.