Online Dating: Ten Psychological Insights

Online Dating: Ten Psychological Insights

Somewhere inbetween one-third and three-quarters of single people with internet access have used it to attempt and meet someone fresh. But, overheen the years, we’ve heard conflicting stories about how successful it is.

Believe the internet dating companies and it’s all sweetness and light, with wedding bells ringing te the distance, believe the media scare stories and it’s all lounging, cheating, perverted social misfits. The truth is somewhere te inbetween, but where?

Fortunately, now there’s enough research to suggest what’s truly going on. So, here are my Ten favourite psychological insights on internet dating.

1. Internet daters are not losers

Contrary to the stereotype, there’s little evidence that internet dating is the last resort of social misfits or weirdos.

Ter fact, quiebro the switch sides. Internet daters are more likely to be sociable, have high self-esteem and be low te dating anxiety (Kim et reeds., 2009, Valkenburg, 2007). Thesis studies found no evidence that people use online dating because they can’t hack it face-to-face. It’s just one more way to meet fresh people.

People’s motivations to begin online dating are many and various, typically involving a triggering event like a break-up, but overall Barraket and Henry-Waring (2008) have found that people’s motivations are less individual and more social. People aren’t using online dating because they are bashful but because they have moved to a fresh city, are working long hours or don’t have time to meet anyone fresh.

Two. Online daters do lie (but only a little)

Albeit 94% deny their internet dating profiles contain any fibs (Gibbs et alreeds., 2006), psychologists are a suspicious loterijlot. Toma et alhoewel. (2008) measured the heights and weights of 80 internet daters, spil well spil checking their driving licences for their efectivo age.

When this gegevens wasgoed compared with their profiles, it showcased that nine out of ten had liedje on at least one of the attributes measured, but the lies were only puny ones. The most frequent offender wasgoed weight, with daters either adding or pruning off an promedio of 5%. Daters were more truthful about their age (1.5% deviation) and height (1.1% deviation). Spil expected women tended to trim off the pounds, while fellows talent themselves a boost te height.

Thesis lies make little difference ter the positivo world because the vast majority of fibbing would have bot difficult to detect te person. Most people want to meet up eventually so they know big lies are going to be caught.

Trio. Photo fallacies

The telling ‘the camera never lies’ is bunk. Even without Photoshop to metal out the wrinkles, camera angles and lighting can lightly switch perceived attraction.

People instinctively understand this when choosing their profile photo so Toma and Hancock (2010) took photographs of internet daters, then judges compared thesis to the efectivo profile photos.

Albeit less physically attractive people were the most likely to choose a self-enhancing photo, overall the differences were lil’. The laboratorium photos were only a little less attractive than those chosen for online dating profiles (about 5% for women and 4% for fellows). Merienda again, internet daters weren’t lounging much…

Four. Your best look

Clues to which types of profile photos work come from one online dating webpagina which has analysed 7,000 photographs ter its database (oktrends, 2010):

  • 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.
  • Men’s best look wasgoed away from the camera, not smiling. But guys should avoid a flirty face, which wasgoed associated with a drastic reduction ter messages.

They then looked at which photos were associated with the longest online conversations. Thesis were where it demonstrated the dater:

  • Doing something interesting
  • With an animal
  • Te an interesting location (travel photo)

The photos associated with shorter than promedio conversations were (te enlargening order of conversational deterrent):

  • Te bloemperk (associated with slightly shorter conversations)
  • Taken outdoors
  • Having joy with friends
  • And the most likely to deter interactions: drinking! (associated with the shortest conversations)

(Recall, thesis are all associations so wij can’t be sure about causality.)

Five. Opposites (still) don’t attract

Even amongst a diverse population of online daters, people still choose someone who is similar to themselves.

When Fiore and Donath (2005) examined gegevens from 65,000 online daters, they found that people were choosing based on similarity to themselves.

Te this respect online dating is no different from offline dating. On promedio people are looking for someone about the same spil themselves. Indeed there are now many dating sites aimed at narrower demographics such spil sports ventilatoren, Jewish people or those with particular medical conditions.

6. Internet dating encourages some diversity

To examine internet dating diversity, Dutton et ofschoon. (2009) surveyed Two,670 married couples ter the UK, Australia and Spain. Ter this sample internet daters were more likely to have a greater disparity ter age and educational background compared with those who had met te more traditional ways.

Albeit opposites don’t tend to attract, by its nature internet dating does encourage diverse matches. The authors argue that it is switching the face of marriage by bring together types of people who previously never would have met.

7. Keep the very first message brief

Getting a response online can be a hit-and-miss affair. An online dating webpagina has gauged the response rate by analysing more than 500,000 initial contacts sent by their members (oktrends, 2009). Recipients answered only 30% of men’s messages to women and 45% of women’s messages to studs. The percentage that lead to conversations is even lower (around 20% and 30% respectively).

The one-third response rate, which is backed up by academic research (Rosen et nu., 2008), is partly because many internet dating accounts are dead.

oktrends also found that longer messages only yield a petite improvement te response rate for boys and nothing for women. So, don’t waste your time writing an verhandeling. Say hi and let them check out your profile.

8. Emotionality is attractive

Ter a examine of online dating, Rosen et nu., (2008) found evidence that more intense emotionality, e.g. using words like ‘excited’ and ‘wonderful’, made a better impression on both fellows and women.

This investigate also looked at the influence of self-disclosure. While the results were more variable, overall people preferred relatively low-levels of self-disclosure.

9. After screening, 51% meet face-to-face

For many, but not all internet daters, the aim is to meet someone fresh ter the skin. Ter a survey of 759 internet daters, Rosen et hoewel. (2008) found that 51% of people had made a face-to-face date within one week and one month of receiving replies to their online overtures.

This very first meeting is often treated by internet daters spil the final part of the screening process (Whitty & Carr, 2006). Is this person indeed who they say they are? And, if so, is there any chemistry? It’s only after this stage is finish that people can get to know each other.

Ten. Relationshopping

Despite all the positive things the research has to say about internet dating, there’s no doubt that it can be unsatisfying and aversive. 132 online daters surveyed by Frost et nu. (2008) reported that they spent 7 times spil long screening other people’s profiles and sending emails than they did interacting face-to-face on actual dates.

Part of the problem is that people are encouraged by online dating to think ter consumerist terms (Heino et ofschoon., 2010). Users are ‘relationshopping’: looking at other people’s features, weighing them up, then choosing potential playmates, spil however from a catalogue, it’s human relationships diminished to check-boxes.

This is more of a criticism of the technology presently available than it is of the militar idea of internet dating. Frost et alreeds. (2008) argue that this will switch spil online dating services stir towards more experiential methods, such spil potencial dates (see: why internet dating is aversive).

How well does it work?

There’s only limited gegevens about how well internet dating works and most of this research examined heterosexual daters. Still, Rosen et hoewel. (2008) found that 29% of their sample had found serious relationships through internet dating. Dutton et reeds. (2009) found that about 6% of married couples had met online ter the UK, 5% ter Spain and 9% ter Australia. Looking at just junior people the percentages were much higher:

  • Te the US, 42% of couples inbetween 26 and 35 very first met online.
  • Ter the UK, 21% of married couples inbetween Nineteen and 25 very first met online.

If a long-term relationship is what you’re after, wij can certainly say that it’s working for some people.

Many are no doubt waterput off internet dating by the scare stories, especially because thesis stick te the mind. Some will find the box-ticking, relationshopping aspects off-putting, or get caught out by the tensions inbetween signifying their coetáneo 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 fair and, for some at least, it can be successful.

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