The Scientific Flaws of Online Dating Sites
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Every day, millions of single adults, worldwide, visit an online dating site. Many are lucky, finding life-long love or at least some exciting escapades. Others are not so lucky. The industry-eHarmony, Match, OkCupid, and a thousand other online dating sites-wants singles and the general public to believe that seeking a partner through their site is not just an alternative way to traditional venues for finding a partner, but a superior way. Is it?
With our colleagues Paul Eastwick, Benjamin Karney, and Harry Reis, we recently published a book-length article in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest that examines this question and evaluates online dating from a scientific perspective. One of our conclusions is that the advent and popularity of online dating are terrific developments for singles, especially insofar as they allow singles to meet potential partners they otherwise wouldn’t have met. We also conclude, however, that online dating is not better than conventional offline dating in most respects, and that it is worse is some respects.
Beginning with online dating’s strengths: As the stigma of dating online has diminished over the past 15 years, increasing numbers of singles have met romantic partners online. […]