Personal Growth

The Psychology Behind ‘The Bachelor’

Twenty young women fighting for the heart of a single man. That is the starting point of the reality program The Bachelor. Some viewers quickly claim that the program is scripted. Of course, it is quite possible that something is being sent by the program makers. After all, it remains on television. Yet it is not inconceivable that much of the behavior that the women exhibit in the Bachelor is authentic. There are psychological theories that can explain the – sometimes special – the behavior of the participants.

Holiday destination

A radiant sun, swaying palm trees and an azure blue sea. Just reading these words can enrapture people. It is, therefore, no coincidence that De Bachelor invariably takes place in countries such as Spain and South Africa. The program makers know exactly how they can put the participants in the mood for romance.

Not only the holiday resort itself but also the holiday feeling plays an important role in the Bachelor. During a holiday people feel more relaxed because they break with the routines of daily life. The ladies in the program also temporarily put their usual daily activities aside. They do not have to worry about their work or the household. In De Bachelor, their only concern is the single man and their only obligation is to look good.


As the program progresses, the participants end up in a kind of vacuum. They can not just leave the villa and have no contact with the home front. In this way, they become more and more isolated from the outside world.

Where participants can normally expect feedback from their friends, they are now alone with their love issues. So there is no one in the neighborhood who tries to stop you when you want to give a ‘mommy’ printed coffee mug to a single man.

Although there sometimes seems to be a friendship between the women, they remain competitors. So you can hear advice from these new friends with a grain of salt.

Degree copying

What do you think of him ?, ‘and’ How was he on your date? ‘, The women ask each other while enjoying a cocktail. From an evolutionary psychological perspective, these questions have a purpose. Women take into account the opinion of other women in their choice of partner. We call this phenomenon mate copying.

Evolutionary, it is simply more risky for a woman to enter into a love affair. Especially in times when there was no contraception, ‘sex’ was almost synonymous with ‘becoming pregnant’. Therefore, she is careful in choosing a partner. By copying mate, a woman can make a better assessment of a man. When a participant notices that the bachelor attracts the interest of the other women, she will find him more attractive. For a man who has been approved by so many women, she wants to fight!

The principle of scarcity

Why do the women behave as if they are the only man on earth? That is a question that haunts many viewers. In fact, the bachelor is simply the only available man in their new environment. A social psychological phenomenon that then occurs is the principle of scarcity. This principle means that people will attach much more value to a product, or in this case a man, if it is scarce. Presumably the bachelor would not have noticed the women in a busy bar full of men. However, because he is the only man in the program, he suddenly begins to seem enormously attractive.


A lot of cameras pricking at your nose, dates at unexpected moments and nerve-racking rose ceremonies. What the women experience during the TV program are absolutely no everyday things. It is therefore quite possible that their stress level is higher than normal. Then it can happen that they do not attribute their excitement to the special circumstances, but to the presence of the single man. The phenomenon in which we attribute our excitement to the wrong cause is called misattribution or arousal.


There are certain opinions and ruls of conduct in each group. People tend to adapt to those views and behaviors. We call this conformity requirement. For the group of women in the Bachelor, it is the norm to throw everything in the battle for conquering the bachelor. A participant who does not find the bachelor so attractive will most likely conform to the rest of the participants. She too will try to win the bachelor.

Fear of rejection

Every week we watch how the women wait with tense faces and nodding knees during the rose ceremony. Will they get a rose or a rejection? Being rejected is never fun. Brain research shows us that the pain of rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain. Being rejected on national television is undoubtedly even more annoying. In this situation, shame plays an even greater role. The women, therefore, struggle in all kinds of turns to avoid a rejection.

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