When do you like someone like yourself? An analysis of online dating
Online dating is gaining momentum and is an easy, socially acceptable way to find partners for dates or relationships. To a social scientist, the wealth of data stored on online dating services has enormous potential in the study of interpersonal relationships. Instead of having to take surveys and interview people, scientists can now discover findings by looking at the statistics of what actually happened. Actions speak louder than words. Never before has something so human and primitive been reducible to such quantitative discrete values.
Do opposites attract? Apparently not. This study of an online dating service measures the importance of a matching characteristic when choosing a partner. The data is extracted from the contacts initiated by the users.
|Number of children||1.39x|
Demographic findings in this study:
- 62.8% of members were male and 37.2% were female, but 55% of active members were female
- The median age for men was 36 and women was 33
- 78.2% of messages were never responded to
- Members sent an average of 1.5 messages
- Men initiated 73.3% of messages, but their initiations were 17.9% less likely to be reciprocated
A more detailed analysis of online dating is given in the author’s thesis.
I found this paper by browsing the list of Judith Donath’s students, who was also one of my professor’s advisor. Fiore’s Masters Thesis was about online dating — I bet that made for interesting party conversation.
Fiore, A. T. & Donath, J. S. (2005). Homophily in Online Dating: When Do You Like Someone Like Yourself?. Proceedings from CHI ’05: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1371-1374. [PDF]