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Start-up companies now meet with investors, pregnant couples interact with doulas, and homeless dogs court potential owners, all using the speed-dating format.Some years ago I caved to my curiosity and tried it out myself. When the little buzzer went off after three minutes, I often found myself still trying to explain to my bedazzled dating partner why my last name has four syllables (it is Dutch).
I made some beginner’s mistakes; however, I am not alone in having struggled with speed dating.In essence, heuristics are ingrained rules of thumb that allow us to save effort by ignoring some of the information available to us when we evaluate our options.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.Millions of years of experimentation with different heuristics, conducted in a range of environments, have led us to learn which ones are most effective.
Prior research by Lenton and Francesconi provides some insight into why people might struggle with speed dating.