Theories on dating

For example, they require you to describe yourself in words (your characteristics and interests, loves and hates); to sum up the attributes of the sort of person you’d like to be with (fun-loving? The psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West (and, more recently, Daniel Kahneman in his book ) call this kind of approach to problem-solving “system 2”.

It is slow, deliberative and analytical, a product of our (relatively) recently evolved prefrontal cortex; it enables us to make complex computations, and to direct our attention at particular tasks.

Yet in many situations, even in the hard sciences, it is the most useful means of all. The value of intuition is underplayed in many areas of life, nowhere less so than in online dating.

Most dating websites are engines of algorithmic-powered rationality. ); to fill out various personality and psychometric profiles; and generally to ruminate a great deal about your path to a fulfilling relationship.

But as Eli Finkel at Northwestern University and colleagues have shown, it isn’t that helpful. In January, I launched a new dating site called 21Pictures which tries to use insights from psychology to create a more intuitive experience, where daters can make the most of their hard-wired social intelligence when choosing a partner.

Not only is it difficult to guess what others will find attractive in us, but we also can’t be sure what we really want in our partners until we meet them. It’s based on research I did for my book , published by Oneworld this week.

The effect is to evoke a sense of someone, rather than an algorithmic representation of them.

He’s discovered, for instance, that a messy desk does not necessarily denote a messy mind, or even a creative one: variety of reading material is more telling than quantity.The programmed theories imply that ageing follows a biological timetable (regulated by changes in gene expression that affect the systems responsible for maintenance, repair and defense responses), and the damage or error theories emphasise environmental assaults to living organisms that induce cumulative damage at various levels as the cause of ageing are also referred to as non-programmed ageing theories based on evolutionary concepts (where ageing is considered the result of an organism’s inability to better combat natural deteriorative processes), and programmed ageing theories (which consider ageing to ultimately be the result of a biological mechanism or programme that purposely causes or allows deterioration and death in order to obtain a direct evolutionary benefit achieved by limiting lifespan beyond a species-specific optimum lifespan (Figure 1).Figure 1: Evolutionary cost/ benefit of additional lifespan vs. Curve 1: Modern non-programmed aging theories – The evolutionary value of further life and reproduction is effectively zero beyond some species-specific age.System 1, by contrast, is fast, automatic and emotion-led, driven by far older neural circuits; it operates automatically and with little sense of agency. Effective decision-making requires both systems – but sometimes it is better to use one over the other. In the real (offline) world, sussing out a potential partner is – at least in the beginning – indisputably a system 1 activity.Humans are remarkably adept at navigating complex social worlds and instinctively picking up on familiar signs that might indicate compatibility.

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