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MORE: Online Dating Gets a Little Less Virtual During the speed dating event, the students were allowed to mingle and chat with one another for no longer than five minutes each.
At the end, they filled out a form indicating which people they wanted to see again, and for those who mutually agreed, contact information was exchanged.
Finkel & Eastwick (2009) set about to answer just that question with an experiment designed to test whether a potential partner’s “choosiness” was due in part to whether they were the ones doing the choosing or not.
After each date, participants rated their romantic desire and romantic chemistry for that partner, as well as how much self-confidence they felt that had on that particular “date.” The researchers found that the speed daters who approached their partners relative to those who stayed sitting would experience a greater romantic desire and chemistry toward their partners, and were more likely to respond “Yes, I would see this person again” to their partners.
But what if at least a part of that selectivity is due simply to environmental factors and social norms — factors that could be easily manipulated?
For instance, might approaching — rather than being approached — in a dating situation make individuals less selective?
But when women did the rotating, men (the ones sitting) were more selective.
Nothing else changed in the experiment, so it was the act of doing the approaching (or being approached) that helped determine a person’s selectivity toward their partner.