Online daters become less concerned with finding an intellectual match as they get older, according to new research.
This is despite the fact that the majority of online daters are most likely to contact people with the same level of education as them.
These findings come from a new study called: “Things change with age: Educational Assortment in Online Dating”, conducted by two behavioural economists from the Queensland University of Technology, Stephen Whyte and Professor Benno Torgler.
The research analysed the interactions of 41,936 Australian users of online dating site RSVP aged 18-80.
By reviewing 219,013 interactions by these members over a four month period, the QUT study is the “largest ever behavioural economic analysis of Australian online dating behaviour”.
And by looking at the data, the researchers found that more educated users care less about matching with people of the same education level the older they get.
Older women, in particular, have a greater likelihood of contacting potential partners who are less educated than themselves, but “conversely, younger males fall into this category as well.”
Speaking about the research, Whyte said: “Selecting a mate can be one of the largest psychological and economic decisions a person can make and has long been the subject of social science research across a range of disciplines, all of which acknowledge one phenomenon: positive assortative mating behaviour (homogamy).
“Traditionally humans look for certain characteristics and traits in a partner, including symmetry in areas such as: age, aesthetics, attractiveness, personality, culture, education, religion and race; however the internet has dramatically altered this process.
“The internet has completely changed how people choose dating partners to find love. Our study is a step towards understanding how technology is impacting on mate choice decisions based on education.
“Cyber dating permits multiple partner choices in real time, which allows for a significantly greater available choice of potential mates. This increased pool means greater opportunity for selection of partners with lower, similar or even higher levels of certain characteristics.
“This includes education, which is commonly used in human mating behaviour as a proxy for resources and future provision as it can represent economic advantages.”
Whyte and Torgler’s study was recently published by leading international journal Personality and Individual Differences.
The CEO of RSVP, Dave Heysen said: “As a business, RSVP is always fascinated by the way in which people go about selecting who to contact.
“The research conducted by QUT highlights several intriguing insights regarding how online dating has truly revolutionised how people interact with one another today.”
Whyte said online dating’s allure lies in its ability to create an “efficient and successful mechanism” for short-term and long-term relationships, but more research is needed into the sector, so we can “have a better understanding of the impacts of cyber-dating on individuals and relationships as well as the psychology employed by people when using the internet to maximise their educational preference in a mate.”
Read more about the research here.