What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Too Many Choices: Why Online Dating Is Unsatisfying (Even if It's Fun)

August 17, 2014, 10:00 AM
Online_dating

Taboo a short time ago, online dating is now widely accepted, but has the effectiveness of finding a mate on the Internet changed along with our opinion of it? Not exactly. From what we know about the limits of human cognition, we appear ill-suited to sift through the thousands, if not millions, of potential dates waiting for us out there. Indeed it wasn't until virtual networks came into existence that the smaller circles we once ran in--and dated in--became unsatisfying.

The logic goes like this: If I have a certain chance of finding a partner among the small group of people of I know, that chance must increase greatly if I extend my network to include thousands of people. And given the depths of our desire for partnership, that logic is hard to resist. But as writer and ethnographer Leah Reich explains, having more choices doesn't necessarily work in our favor:

"Here’s the problem with bigger numbers and endless possibility: They don’t go well with humans. We don’t have the processing power. Dating is not simply about finding like-minded people, but about limiting your potential set of choices. When we’re making a selection from what sociologists call a bounded set of choices, we can 'satisfice' — that is, reach a kind of threshold of satisfaction. Once we find something above that level, great, let’s try it."

Added to this, the metrics used by online dating services may not be the kind we naturally gravitate toward. As Dan Ariely explains in his Big Think interview, dating is a lot like tasting wine: being able to describe what you like is less important than the experience of liking it. Or put another way, the average online cup of coffee requires six hours of preparation through profile exchanges and personal messaging. That's a lot of time for coffee (which typically ends with just coffee):

Read more at the New York Times

Photo credit: Shutterstock

 

Too Many Choices: Why Onlin...

Newsletter: Share: