Social psychology dating tips

(While this post has been written with dating in mind, these tips in general are . Couple,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (January ), vol
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Some theorize that online daters may be wearing rose colored glasses when looking at potential dates — filling in the information gaps with positive qualities in a potential partner Gibbs et al. In one study, knowing more information about a potential date generally led to liking them less, possibly because it called out inconsistencies and reduced opportunities to fill in the blanks with positive inferences. But, with a particularly compatible partner, more information led to more liking.

Love is blind

For online daters, this means that a very detailed profile might attract fewer, but more compatible suitors Norton et al. Research has also revealed gender differences in both preference and messaging behavior on online dating sites. In particular, women and men differ in the relative importance they assign to various attributes of potential partners.

Interestingly, these differences persist even when reproduction is no longer a factor.

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In a nine-month study of participants on a dating site in and , Andrew Fiore, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues examined stated preferences and actual messaging behavior Fiore et al. In general, women really are pickier than men — listing smaller ranges in their preferences for age and ethnicity. Women also initiate and reply to contact less than men.


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They were contacted much more than men and, hence, generally had their choice of who to reply to. In light of these findings, the researchers presented some advice to potential online daters: More popular users are contacted more and, therefore, are less likely to respond to any one user. In a study, Fiore and Judith Donath Massachusetts Institute of Technology examined messaging data from 65, users of a United States-based dating site.

They found that users preferred sameness on all of the categories they tested a variety of features from child preferences to education to physical features like height. But some factors played a larger role than others, with marital status and wanting or already having children showing the strongest same-seeking. Fiore has also found that women responded more frequently to men whose popularity on the site a measure based on the average number of people contacting the user per day was similar to their own Fiore, Hitsch and colleagues found that similarity was strongly preferred in a variety of factors, including age, education, height, religion, political views, and smoking.

They also found a strong same-race preference. Interestingly, women have a more pronounced same-race preference, and this preference is not always revealed in their stated preferences Hitsch, et al. Online dating service users tend to contact people who are about as attractive as they are, but does your own attractiveness level influence how attractive you believe others to be?

The site was launched in purely for users to rate each other on how attractive or, obviously, not they were. Later, the site added an online dating component. Consistent with previous research, this study, published in Psychological Science , found that people with similar levels of physical attractiveness indeed tend to date each other, with more attractive people being more particular about the physical attractiveness of their potential dates.

Compared to females, males are more influenced by how physically attractive their potential dates are, but less affected by how attractive they themselves are when deciding whom to date. But these findings about gender bias in attraction are being challenged in other studies — more on this later.


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  6. Assessing potential partners online hinges on other users being truthful in their descriptions. Psychological scientists have turned to online dating to examine how truthful people are in their descriptions of themselves, both with themselves and to others. Online daters walk a fine line — everyone wants to make themselves as attractive as possible to potential dates, making deception very tempting. Catalina Toma, Jeffrey Hancock both at Cornell University , and Nicole Ellison Michigan State University examined the relationship between actual physical attributes and online self-descriptions of online daters in New York.

    They found that lying was ubiquitous, but usually fairly small in terms of magnitude. Men tended to lie about height and women tended to lie about weight. Another modern dating innovation may provide a better solution: Since then, speed dating has spread around the world, giving millions of singles a chance at love. It also gives savvy researchers an unprecedented chance to study attraction in situ.

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    Third, it seems that we like people who like us. This idea of reciprocity may sound very simple, but it has incredibly important implications for all relationships. Chat-up lines may sound like a bit of fun, but all romantic relationships are built on reciprocal self-disclosure — the mutual exchange of intimate information with a partner. Deciding when and how to disclose intimate information to a new partner is an important part of every romantic relationship and can be the difference between an honest, healthy relationship or a closed, stunted one.

    Also, playing hard-to-get almost never works. Giving the impression of dislike is unlikely to spark attraction because it goes against the grain of reciprocity. Finally, despite what many people think, opposites very rarely attract. In fact, decades of research has shown that attraction is most likely to be sparked when two people perceive themselves as being very similar to each other. It could be similarity in terms of sociodemographics — most relationships are formed between people who are similar in terms of age, social class, occupational background, and so on.

    But more important than sociodemographics is similarity of values — everything from musical tastes to political orientation. But when someone agrees with us, they validate our worldviews and as result we want continuing contact with that person. Knowing all this, is it possible to predict with any accuracy whether two people will form a stable relationship?

    One the difficulties with these sorts of predictions is that relationships are complex and often messy.


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