Online dating enjoying a boom among boomers

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as profiles can help quickly weed out the obviously inappropriate or incompatible partners (who hasn’t wished for such a skip button on those disastrous real-life blind dates?), but it also means that some of the pleasure of dating, and building a relationship by learning to like a person, is also diluted.But social science studies have found that such a priori predictors aren’t very accurate at all, and that the best prognosticators of how people will get along come from the encounters between them.In other words, it’s hard to tell whether Jim and Sue will be happy together simply by comparing a list of their preferences, perspectives and personality traits before they meet.Stronger predictors of possible romance include the tenor of their conversations, the subject of their discussions, or what they choose to do together.“Interaction is a rich and complex process,” says Reis.Online, that process is telescoped and front-loaded, packaged into a neat little digital profile, usually with an equally artificial video attached.That leaves a) less mystery and surprise when singles meet face to face.

The fact that candidates are screened via their profiles already sets up a judgmental, “shopping” mentality that can lead people to objectify their potential partners.

But there are certain properties of online dating that actually work against love-seekers, the researchers found, making it no more effective than traditional dating for finding a happy relationship.

“There is no reason to believe that online dating improves romantic outcomes,” says Harry Reis, a professor of psychology at University of Rochester and one of the study’s co-authors.

These observations have been borne out in a new study by social psychologists collaborating across the country.

The extensive new study published in the journal sought to answer some critical questions about online dating, an increasingly popular trend that may now account for 1 out of every 5 new relationships formed: fundamentally, how does online dating differ from traditional, face-to-face encounters?

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