Dating roles reversed

Posted by / 19-Jun-2016 11:17

To test this, they had more than 300 undergraduates participate in speed-dating events.

In half of those events, participants engaged in the standard speed-dating procedure of men circulating while women stayed in one place.

The typical speed-dating event relies heavily on the “male approaches female” norm.

Consistent with the norm, speed-dating research reveals that women are pickier than men when indicating interest in potential partners, with men indicating interest in roughly half the potential partners and women indicating interest in roughly a third.

But in the non-standard “women rotating” events where men and women reversed roles, the researcher found the exact opposite pattern: men were picky, whereas women were less selective.

Put another way, there was a “Sadie Hawkins Effect”.

For the other events, men and women performed a Sadie Hawkins-like role reversal: men stayed in one place while women circulated around the room.

does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

In other words, when lots of potential suitors are approaching you, it makes sense to be picky.

This brings up a much broader point: it is all too easy to assume that men and women behave very differently because of evolved, inborn differences.

Research like this shows how careful we must be to avoid assumptions about gender difference, and how we may not need to look far for other potential explanations.

*William Powell and Lauren Bacall in 1953's "How to Marry a Millionaire"*As our culture's values change over time, so do our own—which means that the evolving role of gender can affect our dating decisions, whether we realize it or not.

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To study such scripts that underpin dating behaviour, researchers have used speed dating.

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  1. This is true despite the fact that immigration from nations with lower levels of education has increased sharply in recent years, and there is more linguistic and cultural diversity for schools to contend with.