Further supporting this interpretation, the authors argue that their study had good “ecological validity.” This means that the experimental conditions of this study were a strong approximation of those in real-life.
Apart from the requirement that the participants had to provide a narrative report and a numerical rating of the date, the dates unfolded as they normally would in regular life.
According to the investigators, this study has similar ecological validity to speed-dating studies that also involve face-to-face interaction.In a classic study of human mating from 1989, David Buss surveyed 37 cultures across 6 continents and found that in every culture in question, men preferred to marry younger women (2.66 years younger on average) and women preferred to marry older men (3.42 years older on average).In addition, Buss collected actual age differences at marriage for 27 of the 37 cultures, and across the board men normally married women who were younger than themselves.In another study from 2001, researchers asked Dutch men and women between the ages of 20 and 60 about their age preferences for various types of intimate situations, ranging from sexual fantasies to marriage. Malouf of Endicott College wondered if testing the age differential hypothesis using a new source of data might yield more insight into the matter.They, too, found that men predictably preferred younger partners than did women. To this end, they collected all available ratings of blind dates that were published in two well-known American newspaper columns: “Dinner with Cupid” from Both newspaper columns advertise for singles who are willing to give a blow-by-blow report of a blind date as well as a numerical rating in exchange for a free dinner at a restaurant.