Psychological research reveals who uses internet dating and why, which strategies work, and uncovers the truth about lying online. Somewhere between one-third and three-quarters of single people with internet access have used it to try and meet someone new.
The truth is somewhere in between, but where? So, here are my 10 favourite psychological insights on internet dating. In fact, quite the reverse. Internet daters are more likely to be sociable, have high self-esteem and be low in dating anxiety Kim et al. When this data was compared with their profiles, it showed that nine out of ten had lied on at least one of the attributes measured, but the lies were only small ones. Daters were more truthful about their age 1. As expected women tended to shave off the pounds, while men gave themselves a boost in height.
These lies make little difference in the real world because the vast majority of fibbing would have been difficult to detect in person. Most people want to meet up eventually so they know big lies are going to be caught. Even without Photoshop to iron out the wrinkles, camera angles and lighting can easily change perceived attractiveness.
People instinctively understand this when choosing their profile photo so Toma and Hancock took photographs of internet daters, then judges compared these to the real profile photos. Although less physically attractive people were the most likely to choose a self-enhancing photo, overall the differences were tiny. Your best look Clues to which types of profile photos work come from one online dating site which has analysed 7, photographs in its database oktrends, Women had higher response-rates when they made eye-contact with the camera and looked flirty.
Conversely the least successful pictures for women were looking away with a flirty face. But guys should avoid a flirty face, which was associated with a drastic reduction in messages. They then looked at which photos were associated with the longest online conversations.
These were where it showed the dater: Doing something interesting In an interesting location travel photo The photos associated with shorter than average conversations were in increasing order of conversational deterrent: In bed associated with slightly shorter conversations Taken outdoors And the most likely to deter interactions: When Fiore and Donath examined data from 65, online daters, they found that people were choosing based on similarity to themselves.
In this respect online dating is no different from offline dating. On average people are looking for someone about the same as themselves. Indeed there are now many dating sites aimed at narrower demographics such as sports fans, Jewish people or those with particular medical conditions. Internet dating encourages some diversity To examine internet dating diversity, Dutton et al.
In this sample internet daters were more likely to have a greater disparity in age and educational background compared with those who had met in more traditional ways. The authors argue that it is changing the face of marriage by bring together types of people who previously never would have met. Keep the first message short Getting a response online can be a hit-and-miss affair. An online dating site has gauged the response rate by analysing more than , initial contacts sent by their members oktrends, The one-third response rate, which is backed up by academic research Rosen et al.
Say hi and let them check out your profile. Emotionality is attractive In a study of online dating, Rosen et al. This study also looked at the impact of self-disclosure.
While the results were more variable, overall people preferred relatively low-levels of self-disclosure. In a survey of internet daters, Rosen et al. Is this person really who they say they are? And, if so, is there any chemistry? Part of the problem is that people are encouraged by online dating to think in consumerist terms Heino et al. This is more of a criticism of the technology currently available than it is of the general idea of internet dating.
How well does it work? Still, Rosen et al. Looking at just younger people the percentages were much higher: Many are no doubt put off internet dating by the scare stories, especially because these stick in the mind.
Some will find the box-ticking, relationshopping aspects off-putting, or get caught out by the tensions between representing their actual and idealised selves online. Still others will find that low levels of response kills their enthusiasm.
The research, however, suggests that most internet daters are relatively honest and, for some at least, it can be successful.