Too Many Choices: Why Online Dating Is Unsatisfying (Even if It's Fun)
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.
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
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.