The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Are you single? Here’s a surprising tip on how to attract potential dating partners at a club: bring along a friend who looks similar to you, only is slightly less attractive. This will greatly increase your chances of success. Why? Our minds are fundamentally wired to look for comparisons. What’s more, we tend to do this in the laziest way possible: by using the easiest comparisons around. Hence, by showing up at a bar with a slightly less attractive version of yourself, you’re giving your potential dating partners an easy comparison. Instead of going to the trouble of comparing lots of different-looking people, they can clearly see that you are preferable to your friend. Since you won this easy contest and other comparisons are harder to make, you will probably be seen as the cutest person at the club. Congratulations! Just don’t tell your friend why you’ve invited them out.
Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and is the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and also the co-founder of BEworks, Timeful, Genie and Shapa.