Women may be more “selective” daters, but that distinction could well be based not on innate personality but on social norms and the simple prospect of which gender is doing the pursuing. A new study had subjects participate in a few rounds of speed dating. When the males approached the females, the men reported more enthusiasm about their partners—i.e., they were less selective. But when the guys sat down and the women made the rounds, the opposite was true, reports LiveScience.
So the design of the encounter dictates which participant is more selective, not gender. The study’s authors concede that established research showing women to be more selective isn’t wrong, per se; it just ignores the social mores that put women in a more selective position. “The present research identified powerful consequences of a particularly subtle gender bias,” one says of the “near-universal tendency to have men rotate and women sit at heterosexual speed-dating events.”