We decided to research this problem in the context of online dating, a prototypically perfect lab full of bad equilibrium. Think of a first date: We try to express ourselves and learn about the other person, but not express ourselves too much or offend by being intrusive.
Ariely online dating
We ariely online dating to friendly over controversial, even at the risk of sounding dull. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about. In our research, we picked apart what we were hoping would be the juicy details of first introductions between potential matches.
But what we ariely online dating was a whole lot of bad equilibrium. Text analysis supported the idea that people like to maintain boring equilibrium at all costs. The dialogue was boring, consisting mainly of questions like: Where did you go to college? What are your hobbies?
What is your line of work? We sensed a compulsion to avoid rocking the boat, and so we decided to push these hesitant daters overboard.
So with a certain group of daters who agreed to the experiment, we limited the type of discussions that online daters could engage in. We literally stripped them of the right to ask anything they wanted to and assigned them a list from which they could select questions to ask.
The ariely online datings we chose had nothing to do with the how many siblings someone might have or if their favorite show was Mad Men. Instead, we made sure all of the questions were personally revealing, like: How many romantic partners have you had?
When was your last breakup? How do you feel about abortion? How about those ice breakers! What we did, essentially, is rig the market by imposing an artificial risk level that would help prevent a bad equilibrium.
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And their partners responded in ariely online dating, creating much livelier conversations than we had seen when daters came up with their own questions. Instead of talking about the World Cup or their favorite pie, they shared deeply felt fears or told the story of losing their virginity.
Both senders and repliers reported that they were happier with the interaction.
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We believe that restricting the market in such ways can get people to gravitate toward behaviors that are produce ariely online dating results for everyone. More generally, this research suggests that some restricted marketplaces can yield more desirable outcomes. Maybe you can use this ariely online dating to energize your next meeting.
By forcing people to step out of their comfort zone, risk tipping the relationship equilibria, we might ultimately gain more than if we just fall back on those tropes that are safe for everyone, and useful to no one. In his best-selling book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our DecisionsDan Ariely presents often humorous and peculiar research findings that provide new insights into human behavior that can help us make better decisions as individuals, as corporations, and as a society.
WHY TINDER IS BAD - Dan Ariely