Anyone who's tried online dating knows that it can be fun if you're after a hook-up, but pretty unsatisfying if you're looking for something more meaningful. We're crowdfunding an app via Kickstarter that uses insights from psychology to make online dating a whole lot easier for relationship-seekers. Feel free to back us here!
One of the important ways in which 21Pictures differs from other dating sites is that you get to suss people out by looking at pictures of their lives, rather than by analysing written self-descriptions or lists of attributes. The aim is to encourage people to make intuitive judgements about who they might want to date, similar to how we do it in the "real" world.
Sometimes, though, intuitive judgements can lead us astray. Everyone sees the world through the lens of their own experiences and beliefs, and it’s easy to think that we've "got" someone based on a few scraps of information, such as how they look. We're great at fitting people into boxes. Often we get it right. But not always.
At our recent launch party at Lights of Soho, we conducted a social experiment to see whether people of similar “types” were more likely to appeal to each other, or find each other attractive. This was not, we’re happy to admit, in the tradition of rigorous science. The aim was to illustrate – metaphorically – how intuitive choices and other psychological forces guide our social decision-making, which is something we think about a great deal at 21Pictures.
It was psychology meets social at the newly opened Lights of Soho club last week, when journalists, bloggers, photographers, artists, designers, fashionistas, tech folk and social bees rubbed shoulders with some of our members at our media launch party. Neon artworks by Chris Bracey and Tracey Emin, personality-themed cocktails (courtesy of Babicka), oysters (of course!) and a social experiment involving intuitive decision-making made it a buzzy mix of fun and education. 21Pictures has been up and running since January, but this was our official opening bow in public. Appropriately, there were cameras a-plenty. Here is some of what they captured...
Photo London, which opens at Somerset House next week, is a kind of Glastonbury for photography, in attitude if not in scale. As well as a showcase for hundreds of photographers, it features talks and events looking at the deep impact the medium has had on our lives. One of those speaking is Annebella Pollen, an academic and expert on mass amateur photography (the kind any of us with a smart phone partakes in). She talked to us earlier this week about the stories that pictures tell, and why it’s so important when looking at people's photos to think about “the eye behind the viewfinder”.
On Facebook, the lives of others can seem so much more appealing than our own. Usually this is because people tend to post only the appealing bits – which is why you don’t often see pictures of them first thing in the morning.
But the “Facebook effect”, as it’s become known, is very real. Looking at what other people do – or just looking at their faces – has a profound influence on how we view or rate ourselves.
This post first appeared on BrainBlogger.com on 31 March 2015
In this age of rationality and endless data, intuition is often looked on as an inferior means of problem-solving. Yet in many situations, even in the hard sciences, it is the most useful means of all. “I believe in intuitions and inspirations… I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am,” remarked Albert Einstein before his theory of relativity was tested and confirmed as the basis of a new way of looking at the world. Read the full post on BrainBlogger.com
Dating websites love data. Mostly this is because they have loads of it, and having loads of data appears to make it meaningful. The secret of compatibility is there for the taking so long as we have enough information, or so the thinking goes. eHarmony has taken this to a new level, employing its own in-house analytics team and amassing up to 25 terabytes of data about its customers’ behaviours and preferences (that’s equivalent to more than twice the information in the printed collection of the US Library of Congress).
If you want to know what someone is like and don’t have much to go on, check out what they’re wearing on their feet. Shoes say a lot about someone’s character, according to psychologists at the University of Kansas, who found that volunteers were remarkably accurate at predicting a person’s personality traits from photographs of their footwear.
Here’s what to look for. People who wear pointy, high-top or visibly uncomfortable shoes tend to be less agreeable. Pointy shoes and high heels may also be signs of emotional instability. Those with attractive shoes in good repair are more likely to be conscientious. Very dull shoes suggest attachment anxiety. Colourful or bright shoes are the hallmark of an extrovert, and also someone who is open to experience.