Having More Dating Choices Makes Us Shallower

Question: Is it better to have more choices when it comes to \r\nlove?

Sheena Iyengar:  What's interesting is that the \r\nway we go about finding our marriage partners today is quite different \r\nfrom the way it used to be in this culture.  When you look at…  I’ve \r\ndone a number of studies with speed dating and Match.com and what's \r\ninteresting is that you know we still walk into a speed dating event, \r\nyou know, thinking about what it is we’re looking for in a mate and so \r\nyou ask people, like women will say "I’m looking for somebody who is \r\nreally kind and sincere and smart and funny." And guys will say looks \r\nmatter, but they’ll also say things like "Well, she should be smart and \r\nkind." And you know those are... so the typical responses and if you \r\ngive them just a few options, like five or six, then they will rate them\r\n on the very characteristics that they said were really important to \r\nthem.  You know if they said kindness or funniness was really most \r\nimportant to them then they will be more likely to say yes to the person\r\n that they thought was kind and funny.  Now if you expand their choice \r\nset–say you give them 20 different speed dates–everything goes out \r\nthe window.  Everybody starts choosing in accordance with looks because \r\nthat becomes the easiest criteria by which to weed out all the options \r\nand decide "So who am I going to say yes to?"

The more potential dating partners we are choosing from, the more likely we are to choose someone based on looks.

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