As a psychologist, I have always found the concept of speed dating fascinating.In fact, some years ago, I decided to try it myself.Alison Lenton and Marco Francesconi recently published an article in the in which they analyzed over 3,700 human dating decisions across 84 speed-dating events.The authors found that when the available dates varied more in attributes such as age, height, occupation and educational background, people made fewer dating proposals.
In short, we use all kinds of heuristics on a daily basis and apparently we do so for a good reason.
In conclusion, when pressured for time and faced with many competing options, “fast and frugal” decision making can (potentially) enhance the quality of our decisions.
Selecting your future spouse based on the recognition heuristic might be overdoing it a bit, but when overwhelmed with potential choices at a speed-dating event, supermarket aisle or restaurant menu, going with a simple heuristic is a reasonable option.
Similarly, research on online dating performed by Alison Lenton and Barbara Fasolo indicated that participants presented with more potential partners did not experience any greater emotional satisfaction than participants presented with fewer options.
(They were, if anything, more confused about their choices.) These findings do not only pertain to the world of dating.