The Pairing Game: A Classroom Demonstration of the Matching Phenomenon

Bruce J. Ellis, Harold H. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article describes 2 versions of an in-class simulation that allows students to directly experience the matching phenomenon and explore issues concerning mate selection, social exchange, and related psychological concepts. Students are randomly assigned a value (either a numerical value or a list of adjectives), which they place on their forehead so others can see it but the student cannot. The goal is to pair off with another student with as high a value as possible. The simulation, called the Pairing Game, illustrates how matching on similarity can occur, even in the absence of knowledge of one's own value and merely by seeking the highest value possible in a partner. Students in Development Psychology courses responded favorably to the simulation on an anonymous survey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-121
Number of pages4
JournalTeaching of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Psychology


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