Posts on the psychology of dating, decision-making and more
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.
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
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.
You may have seen, or even answered, the “36 questions that lead to love”, a supposed formula for romance that has been doing the rounds on news sites and social media this week.
The idea is that answering a series of increasingly personal questions (and then staring into each other’s eyes) can fast-track two people into intimate feelings of romance. They start off easy enough: “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” By the end, though, you’re in at the deep end. Consider no. 35: “Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing?” No hiding there.
The buzz around the 36 questions piqued our interest because on 21Pictures we also have a set of questions – 21 of course – which our members take as part of the sign-up process. They are designed not to foster intimacy, but as a compatibility filter.
Pictures carry a lot of subtle information that is hard to express in words: that's one of the basic ideas behind 21Pictures. But how much can pictures really tell us about someone?
To test that out, we asked one of our colleagues here at 21P HQ (Sam) to choose six photos that sum him up in some way. We then asked another colleague (Arianna) to comment on Sam's images and describe what each one says about him. This was a blind "date": even though they know each other, Arianna didn't realise she was looking at Sam's pictures, since none of them show his face.
Scroll down to see what happened, including Sam's reaction to Arianna's discerning analysis. You'll be glad to know they're still friends.
“Go with your gut!” We hear this exhortation often enough, but is it ever a good idea? The answer, most psychologists agree, is yes – sometimes. Intuition, the ability to respond intelligently and instantaneously to a change in your environment, can help us as much today as it did our early ancestors. But since the modern world hardly resembles the prehistoric one in which humans evolved, it can also lead us astray. Knowing when to use your instinct, and when to discard it in favour of a more rational approach, can mean the difference between a good decision and a bad one – and sometimes between life and death.