Playing Cupid makes us happy
February 14th, 2014
08:09 AM ET

Playing Cupid makes us happy

The word "matchmaker" immediately conjures images of nosy old ladies interfering in something that is really none of their business. And anyone who's ever been on a bad blind date knows how difficult it can be to make a good match.

So why do we keep setting other people up?

Because playing Cupid makes us happy, new research suggests.

"People enjoy being the key person who made that critical match between newlyweds or between business partners who started a successful venture," says lead study author Lalin Anik, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University.

Anik and fellow researcher Michael Norton from Harvard Business School conducted four studies to test the psychological benefits of matchmaking. Their results were published this week in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Study No. 1

In the first study, Anik and Norton examined whether people who frequently engage in matchmaking report better health overall than their non-matchmaking counterparts.

They asked 301 people how often they make matches and how successful they are at matchmaking. Those who made successful matches more often scored higher on a well-being evaluation.

This result held true even after the researchers controlled for participants' social circle size and personality traits.

Study No. 2

In the second study, 118 people were asked to introduce themselves to the others by stating their name, place of birth, occupation and hobbies. They were then split into three groups. One group matched people who they thought would get along; another group matched people they thought would NOT get along; a third group matched people based on a randomly assigned characteristic.

Anik and Norton found participants who matched others based on how much they thought they would get along were happier after the task than those who matched incompatible couples or matched based on a random characteristic.

The study authors concluded: "Matchmaking increases their happiness - but only when that matching is done in the service of creating connections between others."

Study No. 3

Anik and Norton wondered if paying people to make matches would encourage them to do so, or if it would reduce the intrinsic reward they seemed to be getting.

So for study three, the researchers asked people to make matches either for free, for one cent each or for two cents each. After each match, participants were given the choice to either continue making matches or to move on to another task.

People in the free group completed more matches than those who were receiving a monetary incentive.

"So, people should avoid going pro," Anik concluded.

Study No. 4

In the fourth study, researchers explored what types of matches were most rewarding. They asked 132 people to make matches either between people who would likely be members of the same social network or between people who would be less likely to be members of the same network.

"What we found is that creating matches between people who are unlikely to know each other proves more rewarding than creating matches between people who are likely to know one another," Anik says. "Truly masterful matchmaking, it seems, involves making improbable matches."


Creating meaningful connections between people who otherwise wouldn't have met may make you happy. Quick, think - who doesn't have a date for Valentine's Day?

The researchers noted several possible causes for this link. Previous studies have shown that a rich network of family and friends relates to a person's psychological well-being. Bringing two people together not only increases your social connections, it singles you out as a source of power in that network. And it makes you appear helpful - upping your likability. Not to mention that people who owe you for their harmonious relationship may reciprocate at some point in the future.

The psychological benefits don't only apply to love matches, Anik says. Matching two co-workers with compatible skills or helping a young intern network with a colleague also helps boost your mood.

soundoff (645 Responses)
  1. wendys near me

    May I just say what a comfort to find someone that actually understands what they are discussing on the net. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to check this out and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you're not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.


    June 13, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. orthodontist near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this website needs far more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!


    June 13, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. outback steakhouse near me

    Right here is the right site for everyone who wants to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just excellent!


    June 13, 2021 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. car dealers near me


    June 13, 2021 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. gun range near me

    Right here is the perfect website for anyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just excellent!


    June 13, 2021 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Otis Pehl

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/01/alaska-airlines-starts-flights-from-bellingham-wa-to-honolulu/


    June 13, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Cyril Glaves

    I don't know about you guys but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2008/08/emergency-landing-after-smoke-detected/


    June 13, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. unemployment office near me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering troubles with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 13, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. oreillys near me


    June 14, 2021 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. toyota near me


    June 14, 2021 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. urgent care near me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your web page.


    June 14, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. eyeglasses near me


    June 14, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. food lion near me


    June 14, 2021 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. hertz near me

    Hi there! I simply would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you've got right here on this post. I'll be returning to your blog for more soon.


    June 14, 2021 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. chili's near me


    June 14, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. land for sale near me


    June 14, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. houses for sale near me

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 14, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. entry level jobs near me

    Great information. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


    June 14, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. full time jobs near me


    June 14, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. computer store near me

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    June 14, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. best breakfast near me


    June 14, 2021 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new things you postÖ


    June 14, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Places Near Me

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    June 14, 2021 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Around Me


    June 15, 2021 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 15, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Nearby RV Repairs

    Great info. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!


    June 15, 2021 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Seymour Tesoro

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs


    June 15, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nearest RV Repair

    You are so awesome! I don't believe I've read a single thing like that before. So wonderful to find another person with original thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the web, someone with some originality!


    June 15, 2021 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 15, 2021 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    You are so awesome! I don't believe I've truly read something like that before. So good to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    June 15, 2021 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Around Me


    June 15, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.


    June 15, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 15, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Nearest RV Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the site is also really good.


    June 15, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    Great info. Lucky me I came across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    June 15, 2021 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Hi, There's no doubt that your site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, wonderful blog!


    June 16, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog posts.


    June 16, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 16, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 16, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair California

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 16, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Nearby

    Good blog post. I definitely appreciate this website. Stick with it!


    June 16, 2021 at 07:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 16, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 16, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. used car dealerships near me


    June 16, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. krispy kreme near me

    Itís hard to find educated people on this subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 16, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. eyebrow threading near me


    June 16, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. vape shops near me


    June 16, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. condos for sale near me


    June 16, 2021 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Leave a Reply to Sprinter Van Alignment Shop Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.