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.
It is true that people at parties can often form real relationships with real futures, and this external validity makes such social gatherings ideal sources of data on real-life mating behaviour (Eastwick & Finkel, in press).
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. Speed-dating as an invaluable tool for studying romantic attraction: A methodological primer.
Each date lasts just a few minutes, and the attendees use their quickly generated impressions to decide whether or not they would (‘yes’) or would not (‘no’) be interested in seeing each of their speed-dates again.
The basic structure of a speed-dating study A speed-dating study typically consists of three parts.
First, as individuals sign up to participate, the researcher will want to assess background information about each of them.
For example, we have used speed-dating to explore men’s and women’s preferences for a romantic partner’s physical attractiveness and earning prospects (Eastwick & Finkel, 2008).
As researchers of romantic attraction, we think about all the single people meeting each other for the first time – chatting for a few moments, deciding whether or not they’d like to get to know each other better – and we are heartbroken not to be observing unobtrusively.
Every night, researchers who investigate relationships and person perception miss out on great opportunities. Interpersonal perception: A social relations analysis.
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 research, reviewing issues such as recruitment strategies, institutional review board concerns, payment considerations, and use of the internet (Finkel et al., 2007).