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Fisman and Sheena Iyengar, and Stanford University's Itamar Simonson wondered how race might be involved in dating choices.The rate of interracial marriage in the United States is only about 5%–10%. The team set up a speed-dating event at a restaurant in New York near Columbia University, where students were recruited for the study.AS A PSYCHOLOGIST, I have always found the concept of speed dating fascinating.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.As you might imagine, I did not find the love of my life.
“When people are free to choose what type of discussions they want to have, they often gravitate toward an equilibrium that is easy to maintain but one that no one really enjoys or benefits from.” Ariely is referring to a recent study of online daters in which he observed trends in the subject matter of messages on dating sites (which he generally found to be BOOOORING).The participants knew it was an experiment about dating, but they didn't know it involved race.The team tracked what matches were made, and how those varied according to race, intelligence, success, and other variables.It's unclear why racial preferences in dating exist, and why their intensity varies by gender: Just as the females of many species are often the choosier ones, might there be evolutionary reasons behind why women are pickier about the race of their potential mates? When the researchers compared equally picky men and women, who in equal proportion requested follow-up dates with the people they met speed dating, "even here, we find women are much more sensitive to race than men." Another study, by Günter J.Hitsch, professor of marketing at Chicago Booth, along with the University of Chicago's Ali Hortaçsu and Duke University's Dan Ariely, found similar racial preferences in online dating.