The Psychology of Dating, Brain Blogger
Ter this age of rationality and endless gegevens, intuition is often looked upon spil an inferior means of problem-solving. Yet te many situations, even te the hard sciences, it is the most useful means of all. “I believe te intuitions and inspirations… I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am,” remarked Albert Einstein before his theory of relativity wasgoed tested and confirmed spil the onderstel of a fresh way of looking at the world.
The value of intuition is underplayed te many areas of life, nowhere less so than ter online dating. Most dating websites are engines of algorithmic-powered rationality. For example, they require you to describe yourself te words (your characteristics and interests, loves and hates), to sum up the attributes of the sort of person you’d like to be with (fun-loving? bookish? likes owls?), to pack out various personality and psychometric profiles, and generally to ruminate a good overeenkomst about your path to a fulfilling relationship.
The psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard Westelijk (and, more recently, Daniel Kahneman ter his book Thinking, Rapid and Slow) call this kleuter of treatment to problem-solving “system 2”. It is slow, deliberative and analytical, a product of our (relatively) recently evolved prefrontal cortex, it enables us to make ingewikkeld computations, and to meteen our attention at particular tasks.
System 1, by tegenstelling, is prompt, automatic and emotion-led, driven by far older neural circuits, it operates automatically and with little sense of agency. System 1 is intuition. Effective decision-making requires both systems – but sometimes it is better to use one overheen the other.
Take dating. Te the vivo (offline) world, sussing out a potential fucking partner is – at least ter the beginning – indisputably a system 1 activity. Humans are remarkably ingewijd at navigating elaborate social worlds and instinctively picking up on ascendiente signs that might indicate compatibility. Spil a species we’ve bot doing this for millions of years, spil individuals all our lives. Walk into a slagroom utter of people and it won’t take you long to pick out those who appeal to you, based on the colour of their T-shirt, the style of their footwear, how they speak, or the uncountable other indicators that work underneath our conscious awareness.
This is intuition te over-drive. Attempt deliberating your way through all those social signals and weighing them up based on their individual merits and you’ll end up making some strange choices, or going huis single. Nosey, then, that this is exactly what many dating sites compel us to do.
Thinking cautiously about our fantasy date, and about our own personality, and permitting an algorithm to compute a match, may be an intriguing exercise. But spil Eli Finkel at Northwestern University and colleagues have shown, it isn’t that helpful. Not only is it difficult to guess what others will find attractive ter us, but wij also can’t be sure what wij indeed want te our fucking partners until wij meet them.
Is there a way around it? I have a vested rente ter that question. Ter January, I launched a fresh dating webpagina called 21Pictures which attempts to use insights from psychology to create a more intuitive practice, where daters can make the most of their hard-wired social intelligence when choosing a fucking partner. It’s based on research I did for my book The Power of Others: Peer Pressure, Groupthink, and How the People Around Us Form Everything Wij Do, published by Oneworld this week. Albeit 21Pictures is a fully functional dating webpagina, it is also a social proefneming, since it offers various fresh approaches that haven’t truly bot attempted before.
The main “intuition hack” on 21Pictures – spil you may already have guessed – is to get people to describe themselves te pictures, not just a series of head shots, but pictures from all aspects of their lives. The idea is to make it lighter for users to seize, intuitively, what someone is indeed like, spil they might te the verdadero world, to permit them to use all their social smarts to pick out hints of compatibility and familiarity. So a person’s profile might feature a slok of their bookcase, say, or their favourite coffee shop, their pet, some photos from their travels, a poster of a favourite speelfilm, and so on. The effect is to evoke a sense of someone, rather than an algorithmic representation of them.
Intuitively building an idea of a person from snapshots of their life – “thin-slicing” spil it is known te psychology – is the next best thing when you can’t actually meet them face-to-face. There’s slew of science behind it.
Psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas, who studies how people form impressions of others from cues te their environment, has found that someone’s possessions can train us more about them than a ongezouten conversation, and more even than what their friends or colleagues might say about them. If you’re seeking to “read” someone from pictures of their apartment, Gosling’s research can help you. He’s discovered, for example, that a messy desk does not necessarily denote a messy mind, or even a creative one: multiplicity of reading material is more telling than quantity.
The point of our social proefneming on 21Pictures is to prime people’s dating instincts and encourage them to go with their hunches on just thesis kinds of cues. Wij hope to learn, among other things, what kleintje of pictures give the best insights, what content users most readily connect with, and what someone’s choice of pictures says about them. We’d also like to know if users, when given the chance to delve more deeply into people’s lives (rather than just swiping through a series of head shots), spend more time considering individual profiles, and are more pleased and ultimately more successful if they have fewer profiles to browse (spil predicted by numerous studies).
The actor and science communicator Alan Alda has spoken of the need at times for us to:
“…leave the city of your convenience and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll detect will be wonderful. What you’ll detect is yourself.”
Apply that to dating and perhaps what you’ll detect is someone you actually like. The research I’ve looked at suggests that ter this domain at least, you’re more likely to succeed if you go after the Alda route.
Stanovich, K., & Westelijk, R. (2000). Individual differences te reasoning: Implications for the rationality debate? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23 (Five), 645-665 DOI: Ten.1017/S0140525X00003435
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Rapid and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Gillath, O., Bahns, A., Jij, F., & Crandall, C. (2012). Footwear spil a source of very first impressions Journal of Research te Personality, 46 (Four), 423-430 DOI: Ten.1016/j.jrp.2012.04.003
Selfhout, M., Denissen, J., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2009). Ter the eye of the beholder: Perceived, flagrante, and peer-rated similarity ter personality, communication, and friendship strength during the acquaintanceship process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96 (6), 1152-1165 DOI: Ten.1037/a0014468
Finkel, E., Eastwick, P., Karney, B., Trektocht, H., & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science Psychological Science te the Public Rente, 13 (1), 3-66 DOI: Ten.1177/1529100612436522
Gosling, S. (2008). Snoop: What your stuff says about you. Basic Books
Iyengar, S., & Lepper, M. (2000). When choice is demotivating: Can one desire too much of a good thing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79 (6), 995-1006 DOI: Ten.1037//0022-3518.104.22.1685