A new paper into online dating and the decisions singles make on dating platforms, and why, has just been published.
Led by University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Elizabeth Bruch, the paper seeks to better understand how people make decisions on online dating sites.
Entitled “Extracting multistage screening rules from online dating activity data”, the researchers wanted to find out which were the most important “screeners” or deal breakers, for both men and women.
To do this, the team looked at 1.1m browsing and writing decisions made by 1,855 users of an online dating site in the New York and New Jersey area.
Interestingly, many of the team’s findings are “the types of things that popular culture already tells us”, lead researcher Dr. Bruch said.
Included in these conclusions were the fact that many women wouldn’t date men who weren’t three or four inches taller than them, and that men look for women who are their own age or younger.
In addition to this, the team found that women and men were 20 times less likely to browse a profile that didn’t have a photo, and men almost always prefer someone who has a lower BMI than theirs.
Dr. Bruch and her team also found that smokers were 10 times less likely to browse the profiles of non-smokers.
And in terms of deal-breakers, large age gaps were a big one for singles, although an age gap of five years was found to be much more significant to a 23-year-old than someone who was 53.
The “half your age plus seven” rule was also something that the team’s research backed up, with Dr. Bruch saying that: “What was exciting for us about our model was that a lot of behaviours surrounding the issue of age were quite consistent with that rule.”
Check out the full report here.