The science of love online

26 Aug

I stumbled across this interesting (and slightly disturbing) article about research conducted in the US using data collected from internet dating sites. Because daters don’t know it’s going on behind the scenes, researchers believe they’re gaining honest insight into what attracts men and women (online at least).

I’m dubious because I believe physical chemistry has a lot to do with it. And I don’t mean looking at a photo and thinking, “He’s hot.” I mean that attraction you have when there’s a guy standing in front of you and you’re heart starts pounding, whether he’s male-model material or not. For this reason, and a few others, I haven’t dabbled in online dating, but I know there are lots of people out there who’ve found their soul mate online.

So as future, current or former online daters, I thought you might be interested in some of the researchers’ findings. Please keep in mind that this study was conducted in the US and not our nation girt by sea.    

  • Women got more attention when smiling at the camera but men who turned their heads away from the camera and didn’t smile did the best.
  • Well-written replies with correct grammar got a better response than those with abbreviated ‘netspeak’.
  • Physical compliments were counterproductive. Responses using words like ‘fascinating’ and ‘awesome’ were better received than comments about a woman being ‘sexy’, ‘beautiful’ or ‘hot’.
  • A man’s height is a key factor for women. Women are prepared to compromise on income, the taller a man is.
  • Disturbingly, men prefer very thin women who smoke. Income and education are secondary to appearance. Let’s hope this pattern of attraction is isolated to the US and doesn’t reach our shore!
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