Psychology of dating
Thinking carefully about our dream date, and about our own personality, and allowing an algorithm to compute a match, may be an intriguing exercise.
But as Eli Finkel at Northwestern University and colleagues have shown, it isn’t that helpful. In January, I launched a new dating site called 21Pictures which tries to use insights from psychology to create a more intuitive experience, where daters can make the most of their hard-wired social intelligence when choosing a partner.
References Selfhout, M., Denissen, J., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. In the eye of the beholder: Perceived, actual, and peer-rated similarity in personality, communication, and friendship intensity during the acquaintanceship process.
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Walk into a room full of people and it won’t take you long to pick out those who appeal to you, based on the colour of their shirt, the style of their shoes, how they speak, or the countless other indicators that work beneath our conscious awareness. Try deliberating your way through all those social signals and weighing them up based on their individual merits and you’ll end up making some strange choices, or going home single.
As a species we’ve been doing this for millions of years; as individuals all our lives.In this age of rationality and endless data, intuition is often looked upon as an inferior means of problem-solving. I do not know that I am,” remarked Albert Einstein before his theory of relativity was tested and confirmed as the basis of a new way of looking at the world.Yet in many situations, even in the hard sciences, it is the most useful means of all. The value of intuition is underplayed in many areas of life, nowhere less so than in online dating.So a person’s profile might feature a shot of their bookcase, say, or their favourite coffee shop, their pet, some photos from their travels, a poster of a favourite film, and so on.
The effect is to evoke a sense of someone, rather than an algorithmic representation of them.We hope to learn, among other things, what kind of pictures give the best insights, what content users most readily connect with, and what someone’s choice of pictures says about them.