Washington, Feb 13: Psychologists have ultimately found the reason behind people's reluctance in choosing a mate- sense of scarcity.
The International team led by Xianchi Dai, Klaus Wertenbroch and Miguel Brendl from INSEAD, the international business school have been studying what they call the "value heuristic."
A heuristic is a sort of cognitive short cut or "rule of thumb" that we use when we are unable to make a truly informed decision.
The study suggests that many mate-seekers are often mystified by thought of how many relationship-worthy bachelors and bachelorettes are still available.
The connection between scarcity and value is something we all know; for example, gold is considered precious because it is rare, not because it makes for a poor construction material.
The psychologists' research suggests that this link has become deep-wired into our neurons, so that even its inverse is unconsciously called upon for life decisions- what's valuable must be scarce.
During the study people of both sexes were asked to view portraits of men and women, some attractive and some not. When they were questioned later, both men and women believed that there were fewer attractive people of the opposite sex than there were of the same sex.
People's desire to achieve more than what they really have influence their perception and they are surrounded by the sense of scarcity.
In another study, the team asked a group of young people to view hundred pictures, half of birds and half of flowers, in random order and were asked to estimate the total number of bird pictures and the total number of flower pictures they had seen.
They were told that they would get paid a few cents either for each bird picture or for each flower picture they had seen.
The findings revealed that people who were paid for spotting flower pictures thought there were fewer flowers than birds, and likewise, those who were made to value birds determined they were scarcer than flowers.
Nobody knew that in fact there were exactly the same number of flowers and birds.
Thus, it shows that people rely on some deeply ingrained judgmental heuristics when estimating frequencies and probabilities in everyday life.