The Science of Online Dating

This weeks Science Times features an interesting article about the science of online dating. Surprisingly, there’s actually a lot of published research about online dating, as outlined in a recently published literature review from Khalid Khan and Samer Chaudhry. While Rachel Nuwer of the New York Times writes a lovely story about the author and how he came about publishing this article, she barely touches upon any of the delicious meaty goodness found in the paper. So let’s dive in!

In their review, these authors probed the scientific literature to figure out what factors help convert a successful online communication into a face-to-face meeting. Also, it looks like they were primarily focused on heterosexual dating, so apologies to my LGBT readers!

So what makes a good (heterosexual) online dating profile? Well, picking a good username apparently is a good way to start. For the guys, that means picking a name that hints at intelligence, like “cultured”. For my female readers, apparently men tend to go for “blondie” or “cutie”.  Good to see where men’s priorities are (sigh). More importantly, a good profile picture goes a long way too. Try smiling and tilting your head, as these are perceived as more attractive. As for the other photos you share, make them group photos where everyone looks like they’re having fun. And try to be in the middle, as that tends to make you look important.

Now, as for the “about me” section, don’t make it 100% about you. The golden ratio apparently is 70% about you, 30% what you are looking for in a person. Also try to fit in some “unintended cues”. In other words, don’t say “i’m funny”, rather sow some humor into your profile (but not too much or it looks like you’re trying too hard). And of course, DON’T LIE. That’s literally the worst thing you can do.

Now, I could go on forever, but I like to keep my posts on the not-so-long side. There is plenty more to know about the science of online dating, so if you’re really interested in finding out more, then here’s a link to the review article!

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