Mock dating party game for teens based on the Matching Hypothesis theory



This party idea came from an experiment I read about regarding a person pairing up with someone who is as attractive as him or her. The theory, called matching hypothesis claims that people are more likely to form and succeed in a committed relationship with someone who is equally socially desirable.

Here is the party game based on the matching hypothesis. It can be played by any even number of people and if there are more girls than boys (or visa versa) some of the guests play the role of the opposite sex in order to balance the number equally.  Each guest is given a ‘number’, which represents an attractive rating that he or she does not see. The ratings are from 1 to the ‘number of pairs’, so that if there were 4 pairs the ratings would be 1,2,3,4.

When the game starts the party splits into pairs (boys and girls), it doesn’t matter the order. Each pair then shows the other person their rating but they do not see their own. At the end of this round the question is asked (by the hostess) do you want to pair with this person (when this question is asked the guest have their eyes closed) if a guest wants to pair he or she raises their hands. Every guest then opens his or her eyes. If both couples in the pair have raised their hands they pair off and leave the game.  The remaining guests then go to another person to form a pair and the activity repeats (with them showing each other their cards and being asked if they want to pair off). The game ends when the last pairs are formed, so that if there were 8 guests (4 boys and 4 girls) there would be a maximum of 3 rounds. During the 4th (in the example) round the couples have to pair off.

Everyone then looks at their cards and determines if they have paired off with the highest rating they could have.

Basic theory and strategy of the game: During the first round the guests will only see one card, if it is the highest (4 in the example), then most likely they will raise their hands to pair off. At the end of the round everyone see’s who has risen their hands and notes the person who they (the person who raised their hand) wanted to pair with. On the next round, the guests should realize that they are not rated a 4 (unless their previous ‘would be’ partner raised their hands) and so they should try to pair off with a 3 or wait to pair off with the person they believe is a 4.

Anyway, try the game and see if everyone is able to pair off with their exact match (rating) which should be the outcome, although remember the goal for each guest is to pair off with the highest rating they can. It will not always work out that the guests pair off with their match, consider the situation where they all match their rating on the first round (i.e. 1:1 2:2 3:3 4:4), in theory only the 4s will pair and then the rest of the guests will not be able to pair with a match and some will pair with a higher (or lower) rating than their own.

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