The more options you have for choosing a lover, the likelier you are to end up alone, Brit scientists have found.
Their study looked at the strange dynamics of choice in speed-dating-a fashionable way for singles to meet, reports the Independent.
The researchers discovered that many speed-daters found more potential partners when the available candidates were all broadly similar.
But when candidates were too dissimilar, speed-daters became confused by many conflicting factors and often failed to choose anyone.
"There are models of human 'rationality', which posit that variety is a good thing," said researcher Alison Lenton at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
"What will be surprising to some people is that our results suggest that increasing option variety leads to chooser confusion. People are more likely to choose no-one at all when faced with greater variety," said Lenton.
The study tracked 1,868 female and 1,870 male participants at 84 commercial speed-dating events.
Speed-daters met in groups and engaged in 3-minute encounters with between 15 and 31 singles of the opposite sex.
Big speed-dating events typically generated 123 such "proposals," or shows of interest, when candidates were similar, the researchers found. But the number dropped by more than a quarter, to 88, when candidates were varied.
Again small speed-dating events would lead to 85 proposals when candidates were similar. But this fell by nearly a third, to 57 proposals, when candidates were varied.
The study has been published in the British journal Biology Letters.