Is There Really a Science to Dating Sites?

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Is There Really a Science to Dating Sites?

Science Behind Online Dating?On this Valentine’s Day, the work of Eli Finkel, a social psychologist with Northwestern University, piqued my interest.  (I’m sure his work gets a lot of interest at this time of year!)

If you are considering which one of the many online dating sites to join, there are two types of sites, according to Finkel: 1) the Supermarket type where you have the opportunity to browse and “shop” for connections, and 2) the Real Estate type where a site can act as an agent to match you up with other members based on the information provided and the particular service’s proprietary algorithm.

In short, his studies have found that whichever type of dating site you choose to join, all sites can assist in facilitating meetings.  No specific algorithm (Real Estate approach) has a better chance of matching you up for long term success compared to a random (Supermarket) approach.

Additionally, while an initial online mediated communication can be helpful, especially for shy or introverted individuals, to be more at ease for the first in-person meeting, too much communication prior to meeting has been found to “undermine the benefits”.

As a result of reading through some of Finkel’s findings, it’s my thinking that the online dating sites can provide more opportunities to meet potential matches than every before, but there is still no scientific methodology to accurately predict the “right” love match.  It still comes down to the good ol’ “get to know you” approach.

Ultimately, there really is no way to quantify or predict what happens between two people over that first meeting and the true value of building a connection through the process of building an interpersonal relationship.  Technology can give us a good start, but it’s up to each of us to engage meaningfully and with care to continually work toward a satisfying and fulfilling “love match”.  That could take some hard work and time, and to quote John Gray:

“If we are to feel the positive feelings of love, happiness, trust, and gratitude, we periodically also have to feel anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow.”

It would be a pretty tall order to figure out an algorithm for that!


Read the Full Text of Eli Finkel’s findings
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Mio Yokoi, RP DipTIRP
Mio Yokoi, RP DipTIRP
My name is Mio and I work as a Registered Psychotherapist in downtown Toronto. If you are looking to make changes in your life or relationship, I strive to provide the attention, empathy, and compassion required to navigate the maze of growth and self-discovery. My work lies in my understanding that every person is a unique individual with a valuable perspective and I have been interviewed by Maclean's magazine to speak to the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. If you are seeking a new level of personal growth and understanding, I may be able to help by identifying your strengths while uncovering the nature of your challenges and concerns.
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