Over time, personality had more of an impact on how desirable someone was. Their rankings reflected their personal preferences about the non-physical attributes of the other people in the class.
Where one classmate might find a student’s earnestness in class endearing, another might dislike it.
They asked each couple how long they’d known each other before they started dating, and they recruited people to watch videotapes of the couples and rate each individual’s physical attractiveness.Do acquaintances overlook physical appearance because they know each other’s personality and unique attributes?Is dating less of a “competitive market” when it’s among friends rather than at a bar or a house party?At the start of the semester, they asked students in small classes to rate the desirability of their classmates.(Desirability could incorporate non-physical attributes as well as good looks.) When the researchers looked at the ratings, they found that most students agreed on who was hot and who was not.
Three months later, though, the researchers asked the same students to rate their classmates again.
Lo and behold, many of the ratings had changed: the students’ opinions of who was datable had been informed by time together in class.
There’s no reason couples like that should stand out—except for the fact that they are so rare. of dating, “but there's just no compelling evidence that those preferences [matter] once people actually meet face-to-face.” Experiments run by OKCupid, a dating site that matches singles by asking them which qualities they care about in a partner, the idea of “assortative mating”: the hypothesis that people generally date and marry partners who are like them in terms of social class, educational background, race, personality, and, of course, attractiveness.
Seeing it can set off an uncharitable search for an explanation. There is an exception, however, to this seeming rule that people always date equally attractive people: The longer two people know each other before they start dating, the more likely it is that a 3 will date a 6, or a 7 will marry a 10.
Which is interesting to think about as dating apps, which match strangers up for dates, take over the dating world.
Because if more and more people meet their future spouse on a first date, the mixed-attractiveness couple might just go extinct.