The promise is that there is a scientific method of systematizing all the mystery and happenstance of human attraction.
Different questions are given different weights, and that match percentage is then weighted against levels of attractiveness and how active a user is on the site in determining which users to “match” with one another.
Some sites, such as and Zoosk, also pay attention to revealed preferences — traits users might desire in partners, but ones they are perhaps unaware they want.
That is completely false.” There is no evidence, Finkel said, that dating sites do anything much more than increase the pool of potential partners, and with that the odds of finding a match.
The industry, he said, wants singles to believe online dating is not just an alternative to dating in real life — it wants them to believe that it’s better. Or, as Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld put it, “The algorithms for matching at dating websites are mostly smoke and mirrors.” In 2012, Finkel and four other psychologists specializing in the study of human relationships published a paper in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest that put forward this theory.
Setting people up The governing philosophies of most dating sites are rooted in either setting people up based on the idea that both people are either alike or that their differences complement one another.
EHarmony, for example, was founded by a clinical psychologist who felt most marriages that ended involved people whose personalities were too different.
The problem is that compatibility can’t be theoretically calculated, at least not based on what scientists know now.
Then along came online dating, which suggested a less mystical view of the matchmaking process.
Dating sites offer the lovelorn access to millions of singles just a few clicks away, plus proprietary algorithms to help narrow the field to a shortlist of candidates for the ideal mate.
Ok Cupid’s patent-pending matching algorithm is based on questions users answer ranging from the sexual to the political (and even the grammatical).
Each question has three variables — a user’s answer, the answer they’d like a match to give and how important the answer is to them.