Decisions, Decisions Traditional dating can seem haphazard, contingent on seemingly minor details such as whether you signed up for the right yoga class or patronized the same bar as your future love interest.

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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.

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).

Speed dating, by comparison, offers the opportunity to chat up many eligible singles in rapid succession.

In a typical speed-dating event, participants pair off at individual tables and chairs for a few minutes of conversation.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.Additionally, in speed-dating events where the characteristics of the daters varied much more, most participants did not follow up with any of their matches.Results observed in the world of online dating support this finding.Yet we need not be passive victims of our circumstances.