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The idea is that if you’re faced with too many options you will find it harder to pick one, that too much choice is demotivating.
We see this in consumer goods — if there are too many flavors of jam at the store, for instance, you might feel that it’s just too complicated to consider the jam aisle, you might end up skipping it all together, you might decide it's not worth settling down with one jam.
People used to marry in their early 20s, which meant that most dating that was done, or most courting that was done, was done with the intention of settling down right away.
And that’s not the life that young people lead anymore.
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.
"And mostly they're pretty unfounded."Rosenfeld, who has been keeping tabs on the dating lives of more than 3,000 people, has gleaned many insights about the growing role of apps like Tinder.
People have had that fear about the telephone and the automobile.
They have even had it about things like washing machines.
I spoke with Rosenfeld to hear more about his research, to learn about the ways in which the rise of online dating is defining modern love, and to talk about the biggest misconceptions people have about online dating.Look, there’s always a fear that comes with a new technology.The idea that the new technology is going to undervalue some really important social values is real and rampant.There are online sites that cater to hookups, sure, but there are also online sites that cater to people looking for long-term relationships.What’s more, many people who meet in the online sites that cater to hookups end up in long-term relationships.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.