Afterward, both men and women indicate to the sponsor if they would be interested in seeing any of the others again. That is expected, but Finkel and Eastwick had a novel theory about why.
If two “yeses” match up, they get phone numbers and that’s it. Perhaps it could be explained by the simple convention of men standing and approaching—and women sitting passively.
Each participant went on about 12 dates, but the researchers changed the rules: in seven of the events, the women approached the men, so overall both genders approached each other about equally.
After each date, the participants rated their partners for romantic desirability and romantic chemistry.
What’s more, by asking the participants to rate their self-confidence, the researchers provided further insight into what specifically about the speed-dating setup led both men and women to be more selective when they were seated.
The investigators had wondered whether the act of sitting and being approached by a long string of members of the opposite sex made people feel especially desirable and, therefore, justifiably choosier.
This finding is not a complete reversal of the old rule, however; the seated men were not choosier than the traveling women, the way seated women are choosier than men in the traditional speed-dating setup.