Discover the golden secret of internet dating
With so many dating websites on the internet it can seem like a fine art in navigating your way around the various different types. Most of the big players publish vast amounts of statistical data on how their members interact with the sites.
Scientists and psychologists are now using this plethora of data to delve deeper into our human behaviour to discover the golden rules of dating.
The University of Iowa has produced a new study that's looked into the way different types of information posted on dating sites has made an impact on daters.
A group of around 300 singles from different ages, sexualities, ethnicities and backgrounds were asked to view a selection of dating profiles that were based on three main themes "What I'm doing with my life", "Self-summary", and "I'm really good..." The participants were required to rank the profiles on a scale of 1 to 5 depending on the levels of "trust", "desire to date", "social attraction", and "likelihood of contact."
It's expected that most people on their profiles will post photos that highlight their positive features and play down their least attractive aspects about themselves.
The researchers discovered that the golden rule for daters is to go easy with this selection process as you could appear to be vain and big headed.
Andy High who is the assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the study author said that "We found people want to contact a person who appears to be accurate in what they are saying about themselves online.
It's tough when it comes to dating profiles because we want someone who seems like an amazing person, but we also hopefully will have a relationship with this individual, so we want them to exist."
Many daters have the belief that if a profile looks too good then it most certainly will be too good to be true. This is especially the case as people become more aware of 'catfishes' and fake computer generated 'bot' profiles.
The study also found that "Users of online dating sites are aware that people misrepresent themselves, and inaccurate profiles are one of the biggest drawbacks to using online dating sites."
The art of dating online is to achieve a balance between being modest and realistic and still managing to portray all of the positive aspects of your personality. As Andy High says "You want to balance all that is wonderful about yourself with some things that aren't negative, but more humble or realistic about yourself."
The art of dating online is to be real and not perfect. The researchers at the University of Iowa discovered that potential daters are looking for profiles that show potential love interests who are successful, modest and real.
They are less likely to trust somebody that has a flashy profile. People are looking to online dating services to find someone that is a perfect match for themselves and not a perfect person. "We found people want to contact a person who appears to be accurate in what they are saying about themselves online,"
says Andy "It's tough when it comes to dating profiles because we want someone who seems like an amazing person, but we also hopefully will have a relationship with this individual, so we want them to exist." "We found people want to contact a person who appears to be accurate in what they are saying about themselves online."
It's estimated that one in 10 daters aged 18 and older use online dating websites or mobile dating apps and the study group wanted to find out more on how daters react to the different ways people present themselves when online.
The study concluded that potential daters were attracted to profiles that were positive but not over the top. The overriding aspect was that people needed to find daters with characteristics that clearly showed they were a real person. Daters are looking at profiles to discover more details and not vague generalizations.
This is especially the case when it comes down to where the potential partner works and does for a living.
Andy says that: "Instead of just saying, 'I write a blog,' name the blog and encourage people to check it out. If you work for a company, name the company. ... If you can name something or provide people with a link to get there, then do it."
Previous studies have all concentrated on how people present themselves online and have shown that people tend to exaggerate or lie to make themselves seem better or more exciting than they are in real life.
This study is looking at dating from a different angle to see it from the view of somebody sifting through profiles. "We wondered, 'What do people like in a dating profile?'" "Whom are they most likely to contact? Whom are they most interested in meeting?'"
The study created eight online dating profiles for four men and four women with various takes on two perspectives. The first perspective called "Selective Self-Presentation," is one that concentrates on highlighting only the 'Good' things about a person. The second perspective chosen was one called "Warranting," which includes information that can easily be traced to a real person.
The profiles were uploaded to a dating platform and shown to a group of 317 adults who had confirmed they were or had used dating websites. The group comprised of 167 women and 150 men with an average age of 40. The group were asked to assess each profile and decide who they would like to make contact with.
The researchers were shocked to discover that the profiles they were expecting to score highly, the ones that sounded perfect were not the ones that came out on top. "I thought people would think, 'Not only is this person the greatest in the world, but they're real, too. Wow!' but I was wrong. It was the low SSP" and high warranting "that ended up winning the race."
The study showed that potential daters were turned off by profiles that looked too good to be true and this was especially the case for daters that wanted online social interaction. The study showed that if the profile contained detailed information that could show a real person then the viewer would be more likely to trust that dating profile.
"Users of online dating sites are aware that people misrepresent themselves, and inaccurate profiles are one of the biggest drawbacks to using online dating sites," the study says.
Andy High the author of the study says that the golden rule to creating an attractive online persona is to use balance in what you post. "You want to balance all that is wonderful about yourself with some things that aren't negative, but more humble or realistic about yourself."
"It's important to put your best foot forward," he adds, "but maybe not in your best pair of shoes."