“We were working with a couple of online dating companies who were finding that their users got very unhappy very quickly with online dating. To find out, they showed each of 304 online daters, average age 34, a grab-bag of anywhere from one to 10 traits randomly culled from more than 200 characteristics gathered from real online daters.
Each online participant rated how much they liked their potential date, as well as which traits they would also use to describe themselves.
The researchers suggest that inflated expectations can lead to major disappointments when daters meet in person. The Rules of Attraction in the Game of Love Love is More Powerful than Sex Men and Women Really Do Think Differently Loss of Loved One Really Can Cause Broken Heart Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages Why Some Old Lovers Look Alike Fantasies vanishing with knowledge is a process that hits women harder than men, said Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and one of the study's authors.
“On online dates, women are much, much more disappointed than men," Norton said.
And as soon as I find that one thing, then things start to cascade so everything else I learn about you suddenly now feels like more evidence that we are dissimilar and we don’t get along,” Norton said.
“Once you start this process of saying, ‘Ah, it’s not going well,’ it’s like an avalanche basically,” Norton said.
The other subjects answered questions about a past date.
These results also showed that getting to know a person is a real downer for romance.
In one, scientists asked each of 190 students to complete a Web-based survey in which they were shown 10 traits, one at a time.If subjects said the first trait failed to describe them, they were more likely to say the same of subsequent traits presented to them.The opposite was found if the first trait got a positive score.The scores given to pre-dates were much higher than those for post-dates.And the perceived degree of similarity between participants and dates also took a dive after face-to-face encounters. Online profiles inherently provide limited pictures of people, a level of vagueness that is fuel, Norton said, for love-seeking imaginations.But on average, as you learn more about any lover, the less likely it is that you will click and get along with them, Norton explained.Online dating 101 Norton and his colleagues, including Dan Ariely of MIT and Jeana Frost of Boston University, initiated the study with the help of online dating services like e Harmony and Match.com, though he refused to say which specific ones.Profiles were corroborated with real-life measurements of a sample of users.About half of the men lied about their height, adding at least a half inch to their stature, while more than 60 percent of all participants skewed their weight by five pounds or more.In the second reinforcing experiment, scientists surveyed two groups of online daters.Subjects in one group answered questions about an upcoming date.