Article | Social Psychological & Personality Science

Matchmaking Promotes Happiness

by Lalin Anik and Michael I. Norton

Abstract

Four studies document and explore the psychology underlying people's proclivity to connect people to each other—to play "matchmaker." First, Study 1 shows that chronic matchmaking is associated with higher well-being. Studies 2 and 3 show that matching others on the basis of how well they will get along leads to a greater increase in happiness and is more intrinsically rewarding than other tasks (e.g., deciding which people would not get along). Study 4 investigates a moderator of the rewarding nature of matchmaking: the type of connection. We show that bridging ties are relatively more attractive than bonding ties: the more unlikely the match, the more rewarding it is. Taken together, these studies provide correlational and causal evidence for the role of matchmaking in promoting happiness.

Keywords: Happiness; Relationships;

Citation:

Anik, Lalin, and Michael I. Norton. "Matchmaking Promotes Happiness." Social Psychological & Personality Science 5, no. 6 (August 2014): 644–652.