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This paper presents a statistical framework for harnessing online activity data to better understand how people make decisions.


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Elizabeth Bruch, a professor in the Center for the Study of Complex Systems and the Department of Sociology, has been working with colleagues in LSA to figure out exactly how people find romance online. Bruch and her colleagues examined romantic encounters in an online dating service—more than one million interactions among nearly 2, people in New York and New Jersey. The researchers found that people make the process less overwhelming by deciding on dates in two simple steps: screening matches quickly for obvious flops, and then investing more time to closely consider the rest.

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Bruch and her team divided the rules into two broad"deal breakers" and "deal makers," used to exclude or include people for the next level of contact. Major U. Santorini volcano erupts less often when sea levels are high By Alex Viveros Aug. Soccer position could influence risk of brain disease By Mennatalla Ibrahim Aug. Wild deer have coronavirus antibodies By Rachel Fritts Aug. Light pollution is disorienting animals that navigate by the night sky By Rachel Fritts Jul.

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Bruch wondered: Is mate selection like a job interview process, where the person with the best combination of positive factors wins? All other factors being equal, women overall were times less likely to browse the profile of a man ificantly older than herself.

These are the top ‘deal breakers’ for online dating, according to sociologists

But beyond someone's looks, how much do any of these factors matter for mate selection? Besides photographs, each user's profile could include any of personal details including age, height, weight, education, marital status, of children, and smoking and drinking habits. Not long ago, dating produced no data at all. But the biggest deal breaker of all turned out to be age, at least for women. By Dennis Normile Aug. By Meredith Wadman Aug.

By Kai Kupferschmidt Aug. By Mennatalla Ibrahim Aug. All rights Reserved.

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People met their romantic partners through the recommendations of friends, family, or even at real-world locations known as "bars. But that changed with age. Those 30 million people have generated billions of pieces of data.

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Got a tip? And of course, the final, crucial decision, which isn't captured by these data: whether to meet the person in the real world. People were harshest at the browsing stage.

When it comes to the early stage of dating, it seems to be all about the deal breakers. Are you carefully weighing every factor that makes someone a good romantic match?

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But when it came to body weight, men were less likely to browse the profile of a woman who was heavy-set, whereas women showed little aversion to—with some showing even more interest in—heavier-set men. The data set includes some 1.

For example, says Lin, "Tinder doesn't allow users to search, and emphasizes the photos much more than [personal] attributes, which might reduce the deal breaker effects. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men in their 40s tend to be more interested in younger women.

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These patterns also generally held for the second step, messaging, but with smaller effects. Science Insider. If a profile did not include a photo, for example, both men and women were 20 times less likely to even look at the rest of the person's profile. How to contact the news team. And because most dating sites ask users to give consent for their data to be used for research purposes, this online courting has played out like an enormous social science experiment, recording people's moment-by-moment interactions and judgments.

Extracting multistage screening rules from online dating activity data

One complication is that online daters are not making just one decision, but several in a series: First, people are swiping their way through profiles and deciding which to dismiss immediately or browse more closely. Instead, the indicate that you are probably looking for "deal breakers," harshly eliminating those who do not live up to your standards.

Bruch's team devised a statistical model that maps the "decision rules" people follow during the first two steps. Lin hopes that other dating sites will release similar data, because website de could play a bit part in how people make decisions. Because of a nondisclosure agreement, the researchers can't reveal the exact source of their subjects, describing it only as an "established, marriage-oriented, subscription-based dating site" from which they randomly selected people, all based in New York City.

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Not according to a study of more than 1 million interactions on a dating website published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Smoking was another big deal breaker, associated with a fold drop in interest.

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Other differences between the sexes emerged. Or is it more like a Survivor -style reality show, where contestants are picked off one by one for a single failing? A team led by Elizabeth Bruch, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, tapped into this torrent of dating data.

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Learn more about what is changing and how this will impact you. A study of online dating finds that the early stages of courting are all about "deal breakers. Then comes the choice to send a person a message, or to reply to one. For one, prospective daters were wary of proceeding sight unseen.

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But that's changing.