Jim Friedrich reports that he uses this activity and adds: "I simply have my pairs that have emerged from the game arbitrarily designate a "Partner A" and a "Partner B"; then each pair gets to plot their coordinates with Partner A on the X asis and Partner B on the Y.There's always a very nice scatterplot, as the demo itself produces pretty good matching.Even medium size correlations of r = .5 tend to look pretty vague in small-N scatterplots, but the patterns jump right out whenever I do this (with or without the actual statstistical calculation)." He adds: "The article mentioned might go nicely with a recent finding reported in the Journal of Family Psychology (I believe) showing that heterosexual relationships in which the man is slightly less attractive than the woman exhibit better interpersonal relationships.
Playing a Facebook game - Dan Ariely has created a Facebook activity that he can use as a research tool and your students can use to learn about different social psychological phenomena.
Of course, none of your students may be on Facebook...
Conversational analysis - Here is an activity from Jessica Collett's Social Psychology course in which students analyze possible conversations they might have.
I've only read a summary and haven't been able to get the original yet, so don't quote me on this. Sexual Economics: Sex as Female Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions.
For a more formal and comprehensive treatment of using market and economic principles in an attempt to understand key elements of heterosexual relationships, I regularly assign the following article by Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8, 339-363.] It always generates lots of reactions (ranging from amused to heated) and provides a good opportunity for talking about what one looks for or doesn't in good theory -- ability to parsimoniously explain a range of existing phenomena, ability to generate new testable predictions, use of principles that are "independently motivated" (developed for purposes other than for explaining the phenomena in question), etc.
It also provides opportunities to talk about things like naturalistic fallacy errors and the temptation to evaluate psychological theories (provisional and testable descriptions of nature) by the way they make us feel or the social ends they might or might not serve." The Similarity Project - In one version of this activity, starting in groups of four, students are asked to identify as many similarities as they can between their different groups.Then they join larger and larger groups to see if they can identify even more similarities. 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 pairing game: A classroom demonstration of the matching phenomenon. Abstract: 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.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.