Psychologists Highlight Pitfalls of Online Dating

By Amanda Gardner

MONDAY, February 6, 2012 (Health.com) — Thanks to the proliferation of online dating, would-be couples are now almost spil likely to meet via email or a imaginario “wink” spil they are through friends and family.

Te 1992, when the Internet wasgoed still te its infancy, less than 1% of Americans met their playmates through private ads or matchmaking services. By 2009, 22% of heterosexual couples and 61% of same-sex couples reported meeting online, one survey found.

Single people have more options than everzwijn before, spil websites such spil Match.com and eHarmony have dramatically widened the pool of potential dating fucking partners. But that may have a downside. According to a fresh review of online dating written by a team of psychologists from around the country, dating websites may warp a person’s outlook and expectations ter ways that can actually lower the chances of building a successful relationship.

“Online dating is superb. It permits people access to potential vrouwen they otherwise would not have,” says Eli J. Finkel, Ph.D., the lead author of the fresh review, which wasgoed commissioned by the Association for Psychological Science and will show up ter the February kwestie of the journal Psychological Science ter the Public Rente. “However, specific things the online dating industry does [do] undermine some of its greatness.”

One of the weaknesses of online dating is an overreliance on “profiles,” the researchers say. Albeit most dating websites feature photos and detailed, searchable profiles covering everything from personality traits to likes and dislikes, this information isn’t necessarily useful te identifying a fucking partner, Finkel and his coauthors write.

That’s partly because daters don’t always know what they want ter a mate—even tho’ they generally think they do. Studies suggest that people often lack insight into what attracts them to others (and why), and therefore the characteristics they seek out ter an online profile may be very different from those that will create a connection te person, the review notes.

“Pretty much all of online dating works through profiles,” says Finkel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, ter Evanston, Ill. “But you can spend a zillion hours studying profile after profile and, at the end of that Herculean effort, how much closer are you to knowing if there’s a romantic spark?”

The abundance of profiles online also may make daters too picky and judgmental, the authors say. The sheer number of options can be terrific, and the ease with which people can sift through profiles—and click on to the next one—may lead them to “objectify” potential fucking partners and compare them like so many pairs of footwear.

“Online dating creates a shopping mentality, and that is very likely not a particularly good way to go about choosing a mate,” says Harry Trektocht, Ph.D., one of the review’s authors and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, te Rochester, N.Y.

The shopping mindset may be efficient online, but when carried into face-to-face interactions it can make daters overly critical and discourage “fluid, spontaneous interaction” te what is already a charged and potentially awkward situation, Trektocht and his coauthors write.

Communicating via email or instant message before meeting te person doesn’t always cure this problem. Some online communication is a good thing, the researchers say, but too much of it can skew expectations and ultimately tegenwerking a match. People tend to read too much into emails and other online conversations, which increases the potential for misunderstandings and frustration, they point out.

Some services, such spil eHarmony and PerfectMatch.com, voorkoop to minimize the guesswork involved ter online dating by using mathematical algorithms to match couples according to various traits—including, te one case, the ratio of index- to ring-finger length (said to be a marker of testosterone levels).

The authors of the review are skeptical of thesis claims. They weren’t able to find a single rigorous probe displaying the effectiveness of the algorithms, and other research suggests it’s utterly difficult to predict the likelihood that a relationship will succeed before two people meet.

“Not only is there no scientific evidence, despite the claims, [but] my team of co-authors have become pessimistic that there could everzwijn be te principle an algorithm that could match people well based on the approaches thesis sites take,” Finkel says.

To make matters worse, Finkel and his colleagues say, thesis algorithm-based services may encourage a counterproductive “fate” mindset that prizes initial compatibility overheen other factors that are significant to the long-term health of a relationship, such spil the social and economic support individuals suggest each other, or their capability to cope with stressfull life events.

“Certain sites promise much more than they can supply, and by inducing people to search for that volmaakt soul mate, they may actually be undermining the very thing [people] most want,” Trektocht says.

None of this, however, means that online dating isn’t a good way to meet people. The review stresses that websites are a valuable resource for daters—as long spil a person doesn’t waterput too much stock te the profiles or matchmaking claims.

Finkel, for one, advises online daters to identify promising playmates and budge the conversation off-line spil quickly spil possible.

“Don’t assume that more time spent browsing profiles is going to improve the odds of meeting someone who is indeed compatible,” he says. “Be spil quick and haphazard spil you want with that process, because it’s not meaningful.”

Instead of poring overheen more profiles and comparing height, weight, occupation, and interests, send a note to a potential date suggesting you meet for coffee or refrigerio (te a public place), and use that time to get to know the other person, Trektocht says.

“Don’t concentrate on evaluating that person,” he says. “Can you laugh with that person? Can you feel simpatico with that person?”

Spil Finkel puts it, “There’s very likely never going to be a substitute for getting two minutes from another person across a cup of coffee.”

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