Dating Formula Finds ‘Worthless Gifts’ Get the Girls

GeekIt’s Friday so let’s kick back and enjoy some geek psychology.

Seeing the phrases ‘human courtship’ and ‘mathematical modelling’ in the same sentence means only one thing – a couple of maths PhDs had too much time on their hands. Dr Peter Sozou and Professor Rob Seymour of UCL created a model of human courtship that finds that essentially ‘worthless gifts’ like theatre tickets or meals out will get you the right girl.

The theory goes that if you buy her something that can be exchanged or refunded, she’ll dump you and cash in the winnings. On the other hand, if you cleverly show you’re not tight by paying for the meal, the message that you’re a good provider is sent but you can’t be ripped off – it’s tricky for her to get a refund on a partly-digested meal.

Here’s a few more problems for the geek psychologists to work on: calculating the optimum hairstyle for successful mating, including a formula that takes into account length, parting and ‘product’. Also perhaps with the new mathematics of mating we can solve the Fermat’s Last Theorem of dating: when on a date how much should you tip a waitress who, while delivering excellent service, kept flirting with you and making your date jealous?
New Scientist

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 29 July 2005

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