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Some theorize that online daters may be wearing rose colored glasses when looking at potential dates — filling in the information gaps with positive qualities in a potential partner (Gibbs et al., 2006).In one study, knowing more information about a potential date generally led to liking them less, possibly because it called out inconsistencies and reduced opportunities to fill in the blanks with positive inferences.Take Your Pick For millions of years, humans have been selecting mates using the wealth of information gleaned in face-to-face interactions — not just appearance, but characteristics such as tone of voice, body language, and scent, as well as immediate feedback to their own communications. Or are words the key to someone’s heart (or at least their inbox)?Does mate selection differ when those looking are presented with an almost overwhelming number of potential partners, but limited to a few photos, statistics, and an introductory paragraph about each one? In one survey of Australian online daters, 85% said they would not contact someone without a posted photo, so physical appearance is indeed important (Fiore et al., 2008).
In a nine-month study of participants on a dating site in 20, Andrew Fiore, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues examined stated preferences and actual messaging behavior (Fiore et al., 2010).While this has led to dates, relationships and marriages around the globe, it has also been a boon for enterprising researchers — providing huge datasets chronicling real world behavior.Psychological scientists have been studying attraction, love, and romantic relationships for decades, but online matching and speed dating have given researchers unprecedented opportunity to explore who’s attracted to whom and why.More popular users are contacted more and, therefore, are less likely to respond to any one user.Taking this into account, dating sites may want to steer users toward slightly less popular potential dates who are more likely to respond, “a trade-off many users may willingly accept” (Fiore et al., 2010).