Does online dating really work?

February 6th, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry /

Whether enlisting the help of a grandmother or a friend or the magic of Cupid, singles long have understood that assistance may be required to meet that special someone.

Today such help is likely to come from online methods of matchmaking. But online dating, according to new Northwestern University research, depends largely on ineffective algorithms and profiles for finding potential love interests.

Mobile dating, the latest iteration in digital dating, however, may hold promise, because it brings together potential partners face-to-face fast to see if "sparks" exist, the research suggests. Although the research on mobile dating is scarce, Eli Finkel, associate professor of at Northwestern and lead author of the study, is optimistic about this approach.

"GPS features on smartphone apps can tell you who is nearby and willing to be browsed," Finkel said. "With a little bit of basic information, potential daters can get together right away for a quick face-to-face meet-up."

Good old-fashioned face-to-face contact still is paramount in finding that special someone, and the faster that happens the better, the research suggests. In previous research, Finkel and his co-authors found that ideal preferences of daters viewing online profiles fell by the wayside after in-person meetings with potential partners.

The research will be published by Psychological Science in the , a journal of the Association for .

Finkel maps three generations of online dating and discusses each approach.

The authors hope their report will push proprietors to build a more rigorous scientific foundation for online services.

Provided by Northwestern University

"Does online dating really work?." February 6th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-02-online-dating.html