Dec 28, 2010

California Magazine Features Online Dating Research by Andrew Fiore (Ph.D. 2010)

From California Magazine

The Heart of the Matter

By Abigail Goldman

She's hurrying down a city street in an evening dress, high heels clicking. She's nervous but excited—we know this because we're watching her in an ad for an online dating site. Opening the door to a restaurant, she pauses, which can only mean …. Look, he's there at the bar.

She halts there in the doorway. He turns. They smile. This is the moment, after all—the transition from online dating to real romance. Here, in the doorway of a restaurant, is where the commercial ends, and advertising fails to reveal the predictable outcome:

They won't like each other.

New Berkeley research shows that online daters like each other more before they actually meet in person—it's that first face-to-face where things slide downhill, and average daters report disappointment across the board, let down on everything from looks to personality....

If only they had both read the research, his height wouldn't have been a surprise. And neither would her bulging waistline. Studies now show that men looking for a mate over the Internet tend to slightly exaggerate their height, while women tend to under-report their weight. In truth, neither sex tweaks their stats enough to call it lying, but rather more like wishful thinking—or, as researcher Andrew T. Fiore puts it, "strategic self-presentation."

Fiore spent six years studying online dating at Berkeley's School of Information, where he got his Ph.D. in August. He also picked up a master's degree in statistics from Cal in 2009. Another benefit of online dating research is the vast volumes of ready data. Unlike couples who meet for the first time in person, an online dater's every move can be logged electronically—meaning Fiore and colleagues, with the cooperation of an unnamed online dating company, had reams of users to survey and data to draw from....

"For online daters seeking to improve their odds of finding a mate," reads one study co-authored by Fiore, "the message is clear: Choose wisely, and, if possible, be female."...



Last updated:

October 4, 2016