Women become less choosy when move from table to table during speed datings

June 3rd, 2009 - 6:29 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 3 (ANI):A new study has shown that women become less choosy when they move from table to table during speed datings.

Eli Finkel and Paul Eastwick, social psychologists at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, says that this finding suggests that chivalric behaviour created by the speed-dating experience may be skewing the data.

Generally, speed datings have men walking around a room, visiting a succession of seated women for mini dates just a few minutes long, and later noting down whom they would like to meet again. If there is a match, the organizers help the people to get in touch.

The new research has shown that though men choose, on average, half of the women present, women choose to see only a third of the men again.

“We asked executives from a commercial speed-dating company why they always had men rotate. They told us it was because women tend to have purses and other things to carry and because ‘it seems more chivalrous,’” Nature magazine quoted Eastwick as saying.

So the researchers decided to explore whether having males literally walking up to seated females was having a psychological effect.

For their study, the research team established 15 speed-dating events for 350 young adults. During eight events, men rotated around the seated women, and during seven events, women moved between seated men.

When men rotated, they said yes 50 per cent of the time, and women said yes 43 per cent of the time.

However, when women rotated, the trend for higher female selectivity vanished, with men saying yes 43 per cent of the time, while women said yes 45 per cent of the time.

“It was astonishing that simply reversing which sex rotated demolished such a well-established sex difference, one that has frequently has been attributed to deep-rooted psychological adaptations,” says Finkel.

The researchers think that that phenomenon was observed perhaps because physical actions can alter perception. Pulling something closer makes the object being pulled more appealing, whereas pushing something away makes the object less desirable.

They say that approaching someone makes the mind want what it is approaching, because people are in the habit of moving towards objects that they want and moving away from objects that they don’t want.

Peter Todd, a psychologist at Indiana University in Bloomington, who has collected data suggesting that women are more selective than men during speed dates, says: “I would like to see the finding replicated with other populations and other methods … but if there are robust effects of motion leading to changes in mate choice, that does indeed suggest an effect of embodiment that should be explored further.”

However, Robert Kurzban at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia points out that other possibilities do exist.

He says: “These are undergraduate men in this study and we know that female waist-to-hip ratio is very important to them. In scenarios with men sitting and women rotating, those seated men could have become more selective simply because they could gather more waist-to-hip information than men who only socialized with seated women.”

Finkel and Eastwick insist that their findings have the potential to force a re-analysis of data collected from earlier speed-dating studies.

“The results from older studies are likely to be changed if we repeat past speed-dating experiments with women rotating instead of men,” says Kurzban.

He, however, admits that the new finding does not counter the large body of literature showing that females, of many species, are the more selective gender.

“This finding reveals a piece of the mate-preference puzzle that we had not seen before, but it does not, on its own, change the overall picture,” he says.

A research paper on the study has been published in the journal Psychological Science. (ANI)

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