In a typical speed-dating event, participants pair off at individual tables and chairs for a few minutes of conversation.

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In spite of maxims about so many fish in the sea, for example, recent research tells us that the heart prefers a smaller pond.

In a study in 2011 in the journal , University of Edinburgh psychologist Alison P.

During a series of mini dates, each spanning no more than a couple of minutes, participants in a speed-dating event evaluate a succession of eligible singles.

They make split-second decisions on matters of the heart, creating a pool of information on one of the more ineffable yet vital questions of our time—how we select our mates.

The concept of rapid-fire dating has gained tremendous popularity, spreading to cities all over the world.

One speed-dating company in New York City, for example, holds a gathering almost every day.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).As you might imagine, I did not find the love of my life.I made some beginner’s mistakes; however, I am not alone in having struggled with speed dating.Even if meet-and-greet matching events might seem like the most efficient way to comb through many options at once, a wealth of data reveals that the context in which we make a choice weighs heavily on the outcome.Results observed in the world of online dating support this finding.