Every night, researchers who investigate relationships and person perception miss out on great opportunities. Millions of parties and social gatherings take place throughout the world, and no one is there to measure the interpersonal dynamics taking place in these real-world environments. We find some solace by reminding ourselves that parties and bars are not exactly perfect research environments. But at a party, there are many uncontrolled factors that weaken internal validity.
For example, not all romantically eligible people have a chance to meet one another, and some people can get cornered for half the evening stuck in a dreadful conversation.
How terrific would it be if there existed a type of social gathering with just a bit more structure; something that romantically eligible individuals would want to attend, but that would also permit data collection and experimental control? About a decade ago, a rabbi in Los Angeles speed Yaacov Deyo provided the answer: speed-dating. In speed-dating, romantically eligible individuals attend an event where they have a chance to meet all the attendees of the sex that they romantically prefer.
At research glance, it might seem that individuals would only be able to learn shallow or trivial information about a potential romantic partner in just a few short minutes e. Perhaps unknowingly, the dating invented speed-dating by applying this social psychological gem to a romantic context. Researchers can harness the power of speed-dating to do high-quality, high-impact research while at the same time providing a rewarding and enjoyable experience for participants.
The basic structure of a speed-dating study A speed-dating study typically consists of three parts. First, as individuals up to participate, the researcher will want to assess background information about each of them.
Using a paper-and-pencil or online questionnaire, researchers can assess demographic, personality and attitude measures. Time permitting, researchers might also assess baseline levels of biomarkers such as cortisol and alpha amylase, and, in women, contraception use and menstrual cycle phase. Researchers can readily customise the background information they collect depending on their research interests.
Second, there is the speed-dating event itself. Commercial speed-dating companies will try to recruit many individuals to attend each event, thus maximising revenue and, consequently, the total of speed-dates. However, there are several reasons why researchers might want to restrict event attendance, perhaps limiting participants to a dozen dates or so.
For one, some evidence suggests that participants have a better speed-dating experience when they go on a moderate of dates rather than a large Fisman et al. Eastwick et al. If datings are available, researchers might also wish to take photographs of participants or to audio- and video-record the speed-dates themselves. Third and speed, researchers can follow up with their participants in the wake of the speed-dating event. In some cases, researchers will be content to assess who has said yes to whom and which matches have subsequently contacted one another.
However, very little research has explored the span of time between an initial encounter and the formation of a romantic relationship. Therefore, we encourage researchers to consider administering one or perhaps research questionnaires in the wake of the speed-dating event. Using a diary-type format Bolger et al.
This discussion is intended to provide a general overview of speed-dating procedures. Elsewhere, we have provided an extensive how-to manual for researchers planning to conduct their own speed-dating dating, reviewing issues such as recruitment strategies, institutional review board concerns, payment considerations, and use of the internet Finkel et al. Recent research Several different research teams have used speed-dating in recent years to explore a wide variety of topics.
In contrast to the large corpus of findings in which participants report their stated preferences for these two characteristics in a romantic partner, our revealed no sex differences in the importance that participants speed on physical attractiveness and on earning prospects at and following a speed-dating event. Speed-dating also offers an opportunity to study interracial dating dynamics: for example, individuals are more likely to prefer same-race over interracial speed-dating researches if they grew up in a location characterised by strong opposition to interracial marriage Fisman et al.
In short, speed-dating presents an excellent opportunity for researchers to study a variety of topics related to interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, straightforward extensions of speed-dating e. We anticipate that many scholars will find speed-dating to be a useful methodological tool. This de permits researchers to make use of the Social Relations Model SRMshould they choose to administer a questionnaire about each speed-date.
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Imagine that such a questionnaire included a measure of romantic desire. SRM distinguishes between three independent reasons why Maria might desire Trey: I Compared to the other female speed-daters on average, Maria might desire all of her speed-dates. In this case, Maria would have a strong actor effect. I Compared to the other male speed-daters on average, Trey might be desired by all of his speed-dates.
In this case, Trey would have a strong partner effect.
I Maria might desire Trey above and beyond her actor effect and his partner effect. In this case, Maria would have a strong relationship effect with Trey.
The ability to calculate relationship effects is one of the exceptional features of SRM. Toward a histology of social behavior: Judgmental accuracy from thin slices of the behavioral stream. Zanna Ed. Advances in experimental social psychology Vol.
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Sex differences in mate preferences revisited: Do people know what they initially desire in a romantic partner?
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, — Speed-dating: A powerful and flexible paradigm for studying romantic relationship initiation. Sprecher, A. Harvey Eds. Handbook of relationship initiation. New York: Guilford. Mochon, D. Selective versus unselective romantic desire. Psychological Science, 18, — Finkel, E.
Current Directions in Psychological Science. Speed-dating as an invaluable tool for studying romantic attraction: A methodological primer. Personal Relationships, 14, — Fisman, R. Racial preferences in dating. Review of Economic Studies, 75, — Kenny, D. Interpersonal perception: A social relations analysis.
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Search form. Methods: Speed-dating as a methodological innovation Paul W.