We take the best academic papers and summarize them in plain English so you can improve your idating site, and help your users make better connections.
Title: From Dating To Mating And Relating: Predictors Of Initial And Long-term Out Comes Of Speed-Dating In A Community Sample
Published In: European Journal of Personality
Authors: Jens B. Asendorph, Humboldt University Berlin; Lars Penke, University of Edinburgh; and Mitja D. Back, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Full Report: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/per.768/pdf
Summary, In Plain English:
Speed dating events present a rich scientific opportunity to observe dating behavior outside of a psychology lab. Though the interactions among potential daters tend to be short in length – 3 minutes in the current study – researchers are able to directly observe and to survey reactions in the moment. Researchers usually rely on self-reports of what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Added to this power of real world observation, the authors of the current study examined what occurred over the course of a year for the speed daters who made a connection at an event.
The authors focused on 3 questions.
- What makes someone popular at a speed-dating event?
- What makes someone choosey at speed-dating event?
- Of the connections made at a speed-dating event, what factors influence the likelihood of a match, and what factors lead to shorter-term casual sexual relationships or longer-term romantic relationships.
The Daters (Study Participants)
190 men and 192 women (age 18-54) were part of multiple speed-dating events hosted by a German university.
For both men and women facial attractiveness was the strongest predictor of what made them popular. Other physical characteristics were also significantly related to popularity including vocal attractiveness and low body mass.
Some gender differences were noted. In addition to the above physical characteristics, men who are taller, had higher incomes, more years of education, were less shy, and believe that sex is ok outside of committed relationship were more popular. In particular, the men's attitudes about sex were the second largest predictor of popularity, behind facial attractiveness.
As was expected, most characteristics that make someone popular also made them choosier, with facial attractiveness being the strongest predictor of choosiness.
Younger women and older men were more choosy, and older women and younger men were less choosy.
The increased likelihood of a match was predicted by one factor: similar level of facial attractiveness for both people.
The authors followed those who matched over the course of 12 months and found that what one partners desires out of a relationship influences their dating partners behaviors. When men preferred a short-term casual relationship, that was related to women engaging in a casual short-term sexual relationship. It is interesting to note that if a man sought a longer-term relationship it was unrelated a woman’s behavior towards the relationship.
Conversely, when women preferred a longer-term relationship that was related to men engaging in a longer-term romantic relationship, but not engaging in casual sexual behavior. If a woman sought a casual sexual relationship it had no bearing on a man’s behavior in the relationship.
Overall, physical characteristics and age make significant contributions to initial popularity and the ability to be choosey. In the more long term, dating intentions influence the outcomes of the relationships that are formed.
Dr Brenner: Based on this information, you should:
- Keep emphasizing to your members that a clear and accurate picture of their face is critical to online and in-person connections.
- Be direct with your members that their dating intentions (short-term vs. long-term) have significant impact on the course of a relationship.
- Educate your members that once set in motion, relationships started under one type of dating intention (e.g., short-term) do not often change to the other (e.g., long-term).
- To minimize frustration with your service, assist members to understand that younger women and older men will be choosier and less apt to be responsive in general.