Psychology and online dating
It is not the time to become reactive and irritated. 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.To see that it is something much deeper and more profound. A lack of anything which is not pulled in a million-&-1 different directions when he sees a pretty girl.From there, you must learn to decipher her actions and reactions to you through this filter.Curious, then, that this is exactly what many dating sites compel us to do.
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.
The effect is to evoke a sense of someone, rather than an algorithmic representation of them.
Intuitively building an idea of a person from snapshots of their life – “thin-slicing” as it is known in psychology – is the next best thing when you can’t actually meet them face-to-face. Psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas, who studies how people form impressions of others from cues in their environment, has found that someone’s possessions can teach us more about them than a direct conversation, and more even than what their friends or colleagues might say about them.
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.
Not only is it difficult to guess what others will find attractive in us, but we also can’t be sure what we really want in our partners until we meet them. It’s based on research I did for my book , published by Oneworld this week.
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.