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Start-up companies now meet with investors, pregnant couples interact with doulas, and homeless dogs court potential owners, all using the speed-dating format.

Some years ago I caved to my curiosity and tried it out myself. When the little buzzer went off after three minutes, I often found myself still trying to explain to my bedazzled dating partner why my last name has four syllables (it is Dutch).

In a study in 2011 in the journal , University of Edinburgh psychologist Alison P.

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.

This effect was particularly strong when individuals were faced with a large number of partners.

A study in 2008 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.

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.

One speed-dating company in New York City, for example, holds a gathering almost every day.

Last year online coupon company Groupon hosted the world’s largest speed-dating event, with 414 attendees crammed into a restaurant in Chicago.As you might imagine, I did not find the love of my life.I made some beginner’s mistakes; however, I am not alone in having struggled with speed dating.Yet we need not be passive victims of our circumstances.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.Know Your Environment One problem with both speed dating and online dating may arise from how we hunt for the things we want.Some items can be found with a simple search targeted at objective qualities.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.The concept of rapid-fire dating has gained tremendous popularity, spreading to cities all over the world.It sounds simple, but each variable in the design of the event can affect the daters’ outcomes.In spite of maxims about so many fish in the sea, for example, recent research tells us that the heart prefers a smaller pond.

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