Becoming aware of that malleability in our taste, and gaining control over our decision-making strategies in response, is known as ecological rationality. Here are 5 ways to optimize your profile so you look sexier, attract more dates and increase your chances of finding love. How do you show emotional availability? Millions of years of experimentation with different heuristics, conducted in a range of environments, have led us to learn which ones are most effective. The authors found that when the available prospects varied more in attributes such as age, height, occupation and educational background, people made fewer dating proposals. Even if meet-and-greet matching events might seem like the most efficient way to comb through many options at once, a wealth of data reveals that the context in which we make a choice weighs heavily on the outcome. Yet if lifelong love is what you are after, a smorgasbord of singles might propel you to make stereotypical selections. A similar argument could be made for speed dating, in which the conversation can resemble an interview more than a fun experience. This article was published in print as "Shopping for Love. Avoid insensitive statements like: As you might imagine, I did not find the love of my life. As it turns out, I like to talk—a lot. It is equally important when choosing between jams at the grocery store and partners to date; the only difference is the stakes. Participants presented with a broad array of potential partners more closely aligned with their anticipated ideal did not experience greater emotional satisfaction than when presented with fewer options. In a study published in psychologist Dan Ariely of Duke University and his colleagues set out to demonstrate that when it comes to dating, people are the ultimate experience goods. In both conditions, men and women mentioned more experiential traits—nearly three times more for dating partners and almost five times more for spouses. This is because many online dating sites list users in alphabetical order, so if your username is toward the end, fewer people flip through enough pages to find your profile.
Speed-dating events can promote a particular decision-making style that might not always work in our favor. Perhaps if I had been more ecologically rational a few years ago, my speed-dating experience would have been more successful as well. Research also suggests that we subconsciously associate names in the beginning of the alphabet with success. Additionally, in speed-dating events where the characteristics of the daters varied much more, most participants did not follow up with any of their matches. Knowing how your environment influences your mind-set, a quality known as ecological rationality, can help you make the choices that are best for you. When given the choice between a sexy but emotionally unavailable person or someone who is less attractive but appears caring and emotionally responsive, both men and women tended to the more emotionally available person. How do you show emotional availability? Avoid insensitive statements like: Very generally speaking, good looks and youthful vigor are indeed useful metrics for mating because they signal health. They found that when the number of participants in a speed-dating event increases, people lean more heavily on innate guidelines, known as heuristics, in their decision making. Results observed in the world of online dating support this finding. The authors found that when the available prospects varied more in attributes such as age, height, occupation and educational background, people made fewer dating proposals. In both conditions, men and women mentioned more experiential traits—nearly three times more for dating partners and almost five times more for spouses. They make split-second decisions on matters of the heart, creating a pool of information on one of the more ineffable yet vital questions of our time—how we select our mates. They asked 47 single men and women to list the qualities they look for in people they would consider either marrying or dating. During a series of mini dates, each spanning no more than a couple of minutes, participants in a speed-dating event evaluate a succession of eligible singles. Independent evaluators then rated the characteristics as either searchable or experiential. One speed-dating company in New York City, for example, holds a gathering almost every day. This innocent mistake can greatly reduce the amount of messages you receive. What we select depends on what else is being offered. A study in by Lenton and Barbara Fasolo of the London School of Economics and Political Science indicates that participants often misjudge how the number of options available to them will affect their feelings. Becoming aware of that malleability in our taste, and gaining control over our decision-making strategies in response, is known as ecological rationality. Yet we need not be passive victims of our circumstances. In spite of maxims about so many fish in the sea, for example, recent research tells us that the heart prefers a smaller pond. In essence, heuristics are ingrained rules of thumb that allow us to save effort by ignoring some of the information available to us when we evaluate our options. Focus on your hobbies and character traits that are people and value centered to show that you are emotionally available to develop meaningful relationships with people.
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