April 15, 2014

ON AN BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO:

In the End, People May Really Just Want to Date Themselves (EMMA PIERSON, 4/09/14, 538)

I studied 1 million matches made by the online dating website eHarmony's algorithm, which aims to pair people who will be attracted to one another and compatible over the long term; if the people agree, they can message each other to set up a meeting in real life. eHarmony's data on its users contains 102 traits for each person -- everything from how passionate and ambitious they claim to be to how much they say they drink, smoke and earn.

The data reveals a clear pattern: People are interested in people like themselves. Women on eHarmony favor men who are similar not just in obvious ways -- age, attractiveness, education, income -- but also in less apparent ones, such as creativity. Even when eHarmony includes a quirky data point -- like how many pictures are included in a user's profile -- women are more likely to message men similar to themselves. In fact, of the 102 traits in the data set, there was not one for which women were more likely to contact men with opposite traits.1

Men were a little more open-minded. For 80 percent of traits, they were more willing to message those different from them. They still preferred mates who were similar in terms of height or attractiveness2, but they cared less about these traits -- and they didn't care much at all about other things women cared about, like similarity in education level or number of photos taken.3 They cared less about whether their match shared their ethnicity.4
Posted by at April 15, 2014 5:35 AM
  
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