A populated dating market limiting your hook-up odds is due to this crazy phenomenon experts like Barry Schwartz call the “paradox of choice.” In his book by the same name, the professor of psychology at Swarthmore College says after a certain point, options limit our ability to make coherent decisions. Schwartz’s book, which came out a decade ago, has renewed relevance in a world where we’re fast approaching 50 million users on Tinder alone.
The thinking goes like this:
When we only have a few choices (i.e. the “stranded on a deserted island” scenario), we will pick that which is closest to what we want. The selection may not be perfect, but it’s reasonably close and we’re willing to make it work. As in, she has a pulse and I’m on a deserted island. But anyone who’s ever wandered into a hardware store to pick out paint color can attest that the more options with subtle differences, the waaay more difficult the decision.