Speed dating research method

Speed Dating, as a single word, is a registered trademark of Aish Ha Torah.

Speed dating, as two separate words, is often used as a generic term for similar events.

Evolutionary psychologists think it is because back in prehistoric times “dating” was much riskier for women.

Men who made an ill-advised choice in the ancient version of a singles bar simply had one lousy night.

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Psychologists have worked out that they can get swarms of student participants in mate-choice studies by offering speed-dating opportunities on university campuses in return for the right to analyse the dating behaviour during the events. Normally in speed dating, men walk around a room and visit a succession of seated women for mini dates just a few minutes long.

Psychologists have found that although men choose, on average, half of the women present, women choose to see only a third of the men again. Among animals, females are usually the picky ones, because they make the larger reproductive investment.

However, the new research, by Eli Finkel and Paul Eastwick, social psychologists at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, demonstrates that tinkering with the speed-dating format alters human behaviour, dramatically changing the outcome.

Who needs a long walk on the beach when you can sip wine, gaze into a potential partner’s eyes and dream of all the things you’d like to do to their data?

At the Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne) conference in Utah in February, 15 experimentalists and 15 theorists and data analysts pitched their talents in a speed-dating-style event.