University study on online dating

' " Along with Reis, other co-authors include Eli Finkel, associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and lead author on the paper; Paul Eastwick, assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M University; Benjamin Karney, professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles; and Susan Sprecher, professor of sociology and psychology at Illinois State University.

Online dating apps have been accused of fueling hook-up culture, and killing romance and even the dinner date, but their effects on society are deeper than originally thought. The rise of internet dating services could be behind stronger marriages, an increase in interracial partnerships, and more connections between people from way outside our social circles, according to a new study by economics professors Josue Ortega at the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna in Austria.

“We don’t always fall in love with our clone so a wider dating net, be it outside of race and ethnicity or tapping into a large LGBTQ pool creates happy unions,” she said.

Those unions could also lead to a more harmonious society, the study from Ortega and Hergovich found.

However, Chelsea Reynolds an assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton who researches dating behavior, said some of the effects of online dating are less desirable.

Being able to search by specific demographics and traits makes it easier to fall into what she calls the “Mc Donaldization” of dating, narrowing down potential partners and eliminating people different from us.

And corresponding by computer for weeks or months before meeting face-to-face has been shown to create unrealistic expectations, he says.

The digital revolution in romance is a boon to lonely-hearters, providing greater and more convenient access to potential partners, reports the team of psychological scientists who prepared the review.

But the industry's claims to offering a "science-based" approach with sophisticated algorithm-based matching have not been substantiated by independent researchers and, therefore, "should be given little credence," they conclude.

In the past, the study said, we largely relied on real-life social networks to meet our mates — friends of friends, colleagues, and neighbors — meaning we largely dated people like ourselves.

Now, as we open our dating pool to strangers, the pool of potential mates has become more diverse, and the online dating world is “benefitting exponentially,” said dating coach Meredith Golden.

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