Curious, then, that this is exactly what many dating sites compel us to do.
Thinking carefully about our dream date, and about our own personality, and allowing an algorithm to compute a match, may be an intriguing exercise.
As a species we’ve been doing this for millions of years; as individuals all our lives.
The effect is to evoke a sense of someone, rather than an algorithmic representation of them.
Intuitively building an idea of a person from snapshots of their life – “thin-slicing” as it is known in psychology – is the next best thing when you can’t actually meet them face-to-face. Psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas, who studies how people form impressions of others from cues in their environment, has found that someone’s possessions can teach us more about them than a direct conversation, and more even than what their friends or colleagues might say about them.
Age-related deterioration is affecting an ever-growing number of people.
Although the process is unavoidable, if we better understand the process, as a physiotherapist, it is important to understand that we might be able to positively influence aspects that maintain or engender better health and wellness as a person ages, treating and ameliorating symptoms of common conditions associated with ageing.
The point of our social experiment on 21Pictures is to prime people’s dating instincts and encourage them to go with their hunches on just these kinds of cues.
We hope to learn, among other things, what kind of pictures give the best insights, what content users most readily connect with, and what someone’s choice of pictures says about them.
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.
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.
Although 21Pictures is a fully functional dating site, it is also a social experiment, since it offers various new approaches that haven’t really been tried before.