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These rules of thumb are evolutionarily adaptive, however, and not necessarily a bad thing.
Millions of years of experimentation with different heuristics, conducted in a range of environments, have led us to learn which ones are most effective.
In a typical speed-dating event, participants pair off at individual tables and chairs for a few minutes of conversation.
In essence, heuristics are ingrained rules of thumb that allow us to save effort by ignoring some of the information available to us when we evaluate our options.
For example, in those events with a relatively large number of participants, the researchers discovered that people attend predominantly to easily accessible features, such as age, height, physical attractiveness, and so forth, rather than clues that are harder to observe, for example, occupation and educational achievement.
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.