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After each date, participants rated their romantic desire and romantic chemistry for that partner, as well as how much self-confidence they felt that had on that particular “date.” The researchers found that the speed daters who approached their partners relative to those who stayed sitting would experience a greater romantic desire and chemistry toward their partners, and were more likely to respond “Yes, I would see this person again” to their partners.
In other words, the people who rotated from person to person were less selective than those sitting, regardless of which gender was doing the rotating.
Executives from a popular speed-dating company confided in us that they have men rotate because (a) women often have more accessories with them at events (e.g., purses), (b) men never seem to mind rotating, and (c) it just seems more chivalrous that way.
"Speed-dating scholars have appropriately adopted many procedures from professional speed-dating companies, so it is not surprising that this gendered norm has largely persisted, even for events organized and hosted by scholars.
When men rotated, women (the ones sitting) were more selective.
But when women did the rotating, men (the ones sitting) were more selective.
The present results, however, present a cautionary note: Even subtle gender norms can have important consequences for romantic dynamics.
Indeed, when researchers adopt a procedure without controlling for it, they risk missing a component of what they study.
Photo by Cristina Fletes-Boutte, [email protected] Tucker, senior vice president of Enterprise Business & Community Engagement at Bank of America, speaks to students at Marian Middle School in South County on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
In this case, researchers just assumed that since men rotate in real-life, they should do so in speed-dating experiments.
This may have skewed the results of past studies that used this speed-dating procedure, especially those that examined women’s “selectivity” — selectivity that may have been a result of the procedure itself, not the women.
We’ve long been told that women are more selective when it comes to the men they choose to date.
But what if at least a part of that selectivity is due simply to environmental factors and social norms — factors that could be easily manipulated?
Nothing else changed in the experiment, so it was the act of doing the approaching (or being approached) that helped determine a person’s selectivity toward their partner.