Eli finkel online dating study
A new analysis of 400 academic studies explores whether online dating represents a dramatic shift in the way people seek mates (it does) and whether it is ultimately a good thing for daters (eh . Some sites claim to have developed scientific algorithms that can help people find soul mates, an assertion the study’s five authors say is not possible and could be damaging. Finkel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and the study’s lead author.
The nearly 200-page report, published Monday in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, found that the main advantage that dating Web sites offer singles is access to a huge pool of potential partners.
Of those who did not meet online, nearly 22 percent met through work, 19 percent through friends, nine percent at a bar or club and four percent at church, the study said. When researchers looked at how many couples had divorced by the end of the survey period, they found that 5.96 percent of online married couples had broken up, compared to 7.67 percent of offline married couples.
The difference remained statistically significant even after controlling for variables like year of marriage, sex, age, education, ethnicity, household income, religion and employment status.
"Nobody's surprised when a minuscule effect reaches statistical significance with a sample of 20,000 people, but it's important that we don't misunderstand 'statistical significance' to mean 'practical significance.'" Finkel also took issue with e Harmony's involvement in the study.
"I'm always a bit wary when a project is entirely funded by a private organization that clearly has a vested interest in the results," he said.
Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, led an extensive review of the science published about online dating last year.
"There's no better way to figure out whether you're compatible with somebody than talking to them over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer," Finkel said.Among couples who were still married during the survey, those who met online reported higher marital satisfaction -- an average score of 5.64 on a satisfaction survey -- than those who met offline and averaged 5.48.The lowest satisfaction rates were reported by people who met through family, work, bars/clubs or blind dates."Eighty years of relationship science has reliably shown you can't predict whether a relationship succeeds based on information about people who are unaware of each other," he said.The algorithms are proprietary and were not shared with the researchers. We reviewed the literature and feel safe to conclude they do not," he said."These data suggest that the Internet may be altering the dynamics and outcomes of marriage itself," said Cacioppo."It is possible that individuals who met their spouse online may be different in personality, motivation to form a long-term marital relationship, or some other factor." But not all experts believe that online dating translates into instant bliss.Second, it "overloads people and they end up shutting down," Finkel said.He compared it to shopping at "supermarkets of love" and said psychological research shows people presented with too many choices tend to make lazy and often poor decisions.He dismissed the dating websites' own studies on their success as unscientific, and said there are as yet no objective, data-driven studies of online dating.The researchers reviewed the literature on online dating and compared it to previous research.