Dating in the Fast Lane: How communication predicts speed-dating success

Dating in the Fast Lane: How communication predicts speed-dating success

By: Cameron Mendez

October 7, 2013


Marian Houser, Sean Horan, and Lisa Furler composed the article Dating in the Fast Lane after studying a speed-dating event to examine positive and negative indicators that could result in future dates. Speed dating are events held in bars, restaurants, and other places where adults participate in ten to twelve six minute dates in hopes of finding one or more possible partners or dates. Each dater is given an assessment form and a number, which they use to “score” each of their dates as either romantic or non-romantic match. If two daters score each other as romantic, they receive each other’s contact information. Is it possible to determine a person is a potential mate from a short window of time?

The researchers chose to focus on these three possible predictors: interpersonal attraction, homophily, and nonverbal intimacy to see if they influenced dating decisions during the six-minute speed dating rounds. Interpersonal attraction refers to the attraction one has to another. Homophily refers to similarities a person has to another that could influence a person’s interest in another. Nonverbal intimacy is the perception of closeness or liking one feels from nonverbal cues. The researchers created a hypothesis to test the effects of these three predictors have on the predicted outcome values (POV) of the creation of relationships from speed dating. The researchers wanted to know the relation of these variables to gender decisions during speed dating. Also, the researchers wondered if there are gender differences in the perceptions of these three predictors, gender might also have an effect on future dating decisions as well as the extent they affect them.

The researchers chose to study multiple speed-dating events over a six-month period in large southern cities. The study included 157 participants, 82 men and 75 females ranging from 25 to 60 years old. All participants were assigned a number, given an evaluation form, and participated in the six-minute dates. Participants were asked prior to beginning the event if they would conduct a survey including questions to measure the participant’s interpersonal attraction, homophily and nonverbal intimacy, as well as their demographic information and POV measures.

After complying all the surveys, results concluded that there was a positive correlation between the three predictors and predicted outcome values. Results also showed that men were more attracted to their partners than women, but men and women did not differ in correlation between predicted outcome values and date decisions, and there was not a difference in predicted outcome values and date decisions.

I feel this article is provides accurate research to reflect the affect of interpersonal attractiveness, homophily and nonverbal cues on people’s decision to pursue or not pursue a relationship with another. According to our textbook Nonverbal Communication by Burgoon, Guerrero and Floyd physical attractiveness is the most important characteristics in a romantic relationship2. This is supported by findings found in Dating in the Fast Lane. I think individuals are first motivated or interested in another based on their appearance and their perception of another. Once individuals decide they want to engage in a possible relationship with another, they begin to evaluate their conversations for indicators to continue or to cease. Similarities, or homophiles, are a key factor that can influence relationship growth. This could also be similarity in attractiveness, as the matching hypothesis suggests. According to our text, matching hypothesis states that people search for partners that fit in the same level of attractiveness, as they perceive themselves2. Finally, I think nonverbal cues have a direct connection with whom we choose to pursue a relationship with. As defined by our textbook, nonverbal communication as the passive or involuntary display of cues that an observer might want to interpret2. I think these nonverbal cues are vital indicators of whether a relationship should or should not continue. Nonverbal cues reflect what a person truly feels and cannot usually be masked. Examples such as eye contact or body behaviors can reflect interest or disinterest and can be noticed almost instantly. I feel these three predictors are sufficient indicators of whether a relationship will occur after a 6 minute speed-dating round because they are all indicators that can be established and considered before the time is up.

Furler L.A., Horan S.M., Houser M.L. (2008). Dating in the Fast Lane: How communication predicts speed-dating success. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 25, 749-768.

Burgoon J.K., Floyd K., Guerrero L.K., (2010). Nonverbal Communication. Pearson Education, Inc.

Weidman J. (2013). Speed Dating. Photograph.


3 thoughts on “Dating in the Fast Lane: How communication predicts speed-dating success

  1. Pingback: 10 Eye-Opening Facts About Dating | MrHairyBrit - Hairy Man of Youtube

  2. Pingback: Forget Speed Dating. Try CupidBanquets Instead Where You Could REALLY Meet Someone « MyEventBucket

  3. Pingback: A Dummies Guide to Speed Dating In London « MyEventBucket

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