The effect of the number of potential dating partners on standards for an ideal partner.
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This experiment was designed to fill the gap in research concerning the relationship between decision making and mate choice. It aimed to discover how the number of online dating profiles one is presented with changed their sense of an ideal partner. 122 students between the ages of 18 and 27 were assigned to one of three conditions. One group of participants looked at 4 personal profiles on a real-life online dating website, one group looked at 24 profiles and another looked at 64. Participants were required to choose one person from these profiles that they would most like to date. Before beginning their search, participants completed a questionnaire assessing their levels of self-esteem and regret. After searching for a partner, participants completed a questionnaire asking their feelings about the choice process, characteristics of their ideal partner, how they perceived themselves as a potential mate and what strategies they used to make their choice. The results showed that participants did not change their standards of an ideal partner according to the amount of profiles they viewed. The amount of profiles viewed also had no effect on participants’ self-perceived mate value or feelings about the choice process. However, the amount of profiles viewed did have an effect on the strategies used to make the choice. The more profiles viewed, the more likely participants were to use more strategies, use less time intensive strategies and spend less time looking at each profile. This demonstrates that participants in the large condition were not raising their standards of an ideal partner to help them choose; instead they were adapting to the situation by using different strategies.