McFarland, a sociologist at Stanford's Graduate School of Education, and Jurafsky, a computational linguist, analyzed the conversations of heterosexual couples during speed dating encounters to find out why some people felt a sense of connection after the meeting and others didn't.
According to the surveys, students reported giving and receiving more helpful feedback during the speed dating sessions compared to sessions with serial, class-wide presentations. Students also reported being significantly more engaged during the speed dating sessions. Classroom observations corroborated student perceptions, documenting a greater percentage of students participating actively during the speed-dating sessions compared to the traditional approach. Given these positive results, Weinberg, Moussawi, and colleagues are using speed dating for team presentations and feedback sessions more frequently in this Information Systems course.
Students reported giving and receiving more feedback, as well as being more engaged, during the speed dating events compared to the traditional presentations. Non-parametric tests were significant for all comparisons using Bonferroni corrections (α = .01).
Wilcoxon Signed Ranks tests showed that students reported higher quality feedback received, Z = 3.28, p < .01, higher quality feedback given, Z = 3.75, p < .001, and more engagement, Z = 3.81, p < .001, in the speed dating condition compared to the traditional presentation condition.
A trained researcher observed more active participation during the speed dating compared to the traditional presentations. The distribution of observed engagement activity for speed dating and traditional presentation sessions can be seen in figure 2.
Speed dating originated in 1998 as an efficient way for prospective romantic partners to meet each other (Deyo & Deyo, 2003); however, the method was co-opted by the educational world and adapted for the classroom in 2005 (Muurlink & Matas, 2011). In an educational setting, speed dating consists of a series of brief one-on-one interactions between students (Murphy, 2005; Muurlink & Matas, 2011).
At the end of the speed dating session itself, students may be asked to write, either to reflect on the social dynamics of the session or to consolidate their content knowledge (Larson & Tsitsos, 2013; Murphy, 2005). Rather than have students write a formal essay, some instructors ask them to write field notes immediately following the session (Larson & Tsitsos, 2013). Alternatively, the instructor could hold a whole-class discussion to debrief the event (Larson & Tsitsos, 2013).
Speed dating sessions are a form of active learning, which is associated with higher levels of student engagement and retention (Larson & Tsitsos, 2013). Because students need only talk to one other student at a time, instructors note that this activity allows introverted students to participate without fear of being observed by the whole group (Murphy, 2005; Muurlink & Matas, 2011). Conversely, speed dating sessions prevent dominant students from monopolizing class discussion time (Murphy, 2005). Because each conversation is quick, speed dating provides a way to cover a lot of information (potentially about disparate topics) in a relatively short period of time (Lashbrook, 2010).
By participating in speed dating sessions, students gain practice thinking under time pressure. Due to the repetitive nature of the interactions, students may become expert in a particular content area by the end of the session (Lashbrook, 2010). Students benefit from hearing the responses of other students who may have different explanatory styles (Danczak, 2012) and they gain practice assessing their peers (Muurlink & Matas, 2011). Educators note that students seem to find the novelty of a speed dating session to be a fun and interactive way to learn material (Lashbrook, 2010; Murphy, 2005).
The decision with whom to form a romantic bond is of great importance, yet the biological or behavioral mechanisms underlying this selective process in humans are largely unknown. Classic evolutionary theories of mate selection emphasize immediate and static features such as physical appearance and fertility. However, they do not explain how initial attraction temporally unfolds during an interaction, nor account for mutual physiological or behavioral adaptations that take place when two people become attracted. Instead, recent theories on social bonding emphasize the importance of co-regulation during social interactions (i.e., the social coordination of physiology and behavior between partners), and predict that co-regulation plays a role in bonding with others. In a speed-date experiment of forty-six heterosexual dates, we recorded the naturally occurring patterns of electrodermal activity and behavioral motion in men and women, and calculated their co-regulation during the date. We demonstrate that co-regulation of behavior and physiology is associated with the date outcome: when a man and a woman synchronize their electrodermal activity and dynamically tune their behavior to one another, they are more likely to be romantically and sexually attracted to one another. This study supports the hypothesis that co-regulation of sympathetic and behavioral rhythms between a man and a woman serves as a mechanism that promotes attraction.
Previous research on speed dating characterized verbal and nonverbal parameters that are associated with attraction and romantic interest63,64,65,66,67. Yet, this is the first study to our knowledge that combines dynamic measures of naturally occurring behavior and physiology during a first date, to assess the theoretical idea that bio-behavioral adaptation to a romantic partner can serve as means for co-regulation and promote romantic and sexual attraction. The theoretical idea that bio-behavioral synchrony is a strategy for co-regulation, which promotes attachment has been extensively studied in the parent-infant bond21,68. Here we show evidence supporting a similar mechanism in romantic bonds, whereby high bio-behavioral coupling during a date is indicative that both partners are interested in each other.
Previous studies reported the use of Empatica E4 wristbands in behavioral experiments that measured electrodermal activity78,78,80. Important advantages of the E4 wristbands is that they are quick to connect and wireless. Hence, unlike electrode-based-devices that measure electrodermal activity, they do not interfere with natural behavior in experimental settings, enhancing the ecological validity of the obtained results. However, since this method is not the gold-standard for measuring electrodermal activity, we conducted a separate experiment to validate the E4 signal. Specifically, we compared the output from the Empatica E4 wristbands to the skin conductance output of an Atlas constant voltage system (0.5 V ASR Atlas Researches, Hod Hasharon, Israel). The Atlas system has been used in dozens of physiological experiments over the last 2 decades81,81,83. Importantly, our validation experiment is consistent with previous research validating the E4 device84,84,85,87, providing support for the validity of the Empatica wristbands (see Supplementary Figure S1, as well as Supplementary Results Section for a full description of the Empatica E4 validation experiment).
Matchmaking companies and theoretical perspectives on close relationships suggest that initial attraction is, to some extent, a product of two people's self-reported traits and preferences. We used machine learning to test how well such measures predict people's overall tendencies to romantically desire other people (actor variance) and to be desired by other people (partner variance), as well as people's desire for specific partners above and beyond actor and partner variance (relationship variance). In two speed-dating studies, romantically unattached individuals completed more than 100 self-report measures about traits and preferences that past researchers have identified as being relevant to mate selection. Each participant met each opposite-sex participant attending a speed-dating event for a 4-min speed date. Random forests models predicted 4% to 18% of actor variance and 7% to 27% of partner variance; crucially, however, they were unable to predict relationship variance using any combination of traits and preferences reported before the dates. These results suggest that compatibility elements of human mating are challenging to predict before two people meet.
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Usually advance registration is required for speed dating events. People are rotated to meet each other over a series of short "dates" typically lasting from three to eight minutes depending on the organization running the event. At the end of each interval, the organizer rings a bell, clinks a glass, or blows a whistle to signal the participants to move on to the next date. At the end of the event participants submit to the organizers a list of who they would like to provide their contact information to. If there is a match, contact information is forwarded to both parties. Contact information cannot be traded during the initial meeting, to reduce pressure to accept or reject a suitor to his or her face. 2b1af7f3a8