We think we will be picky about our romantic partners, but in reality, rejecting people is easier said than done.At least that’s the theory, which the Toronto scientists have been exploring in the lab.All were asked if they wanted to exchange contact information with this person.
Here’s how: They recruited young men and women who were single but interested in dating, and showed each of them three dating profiles.
These profiles were ostensibly of other people in the study.
According to Samantha Joel and her colleagues, the human mind has strong and automatic prosocial tendencies—we don’t like inflicting social pain—and this deep-rooted kindness keeps men and women from rejecting partners—even incompatible partners.
What’s more, we are unaware of our generosity’s power.
Importantly, the scientists asked the participants afterward about their motives for making the choices they did. They were more excited about imminent dates (as opposed to hypothetical), but above and beyond that, they were more concerned about the other’s feelings than they thought they would be.
Were you worried about the other person’s feelings? So we’ve all heard uplifting stories about the most popular student on campus going to the big dance with the ugly duckling or the awkward nerd.Obviously there are a lot of little differences that emerge over time, and people do change, but it seems like we should at least get the fundamental issues straight.Psychological scientists are very interested in this question, but most have focused on self-focused errors in romantic choice.Each participant chose the potential date he or she preferred—much as you would on a dating site.After the participants made their choices, they were given additional information about the person, including a photo that showed an unattractive man or woman.That is, we choose romantic partners who are rich or beautiful or fertile or otherwise valuable, but these qualities may not always make for a deep and enduring relationship.