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  The Science of Speed Dating  
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The Science of Speed Dating

Recently, one American psychologist has focused his testing of the nature of human attraction on one specific experiment. At the crux of the matter for Professor Finkel of Northwestern University is speed dating. Professor Finkel and his graduate assistant grouped college students for speedy courtship based on a series of 199 questionnaires that each student fills out. The notion behind the survey is that similarities and traits of attraction can be pre-determined to simplify the connections required to match potential couples for long-term romantic relationships. Based on the findings of the questionnaires, participants meet with 12 likely partners for romance, moving from table to table at a Northwestern University location for a few minutes of conversation and the initial impressions that may prove unique chemistry between the couples.

While many find such regulated match making sterile and tragically post modern, others realize that arranged relationships reflect Old World sensibilities. Many of us are just a few generations removed from heritages that celebrated arrangements for marriage to protect wealth or establish upward mobility. In that light, these type of social events seemed not only time tested, but also absolutely respectable.

Speed dating faces many opponents already. Opponents list a variety of problems with this kind of social mingling as a viable relationship-building option and with testing attraction rates based on speed dating data. High on the list of problems are assumptions that people seeking quick romance fixes are not always seeking long-term relationships, worries that questionnaires promote false answers when daters imagine that questions seek certain ends, and that immediate sparks do not reveal the broader pictures of true relationships where external forces affect the outcomes.

Whether or not speed dating will prove a viable means of testing human attraction and romantic ritual, one thing is certain--now is the time for such questions to be answered as well as they may. Dating ritual has already streamlined itself as fewer people desire to subject themselves to outdated courtship methods. Perhaps this type of experiments will strengthen the science and technology that backs the already booming business of internet personals, which depends largely on similar methods.

Posted by eDatingCentral.com Jul 18, 2008 7:34 am


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