Interesting BostonGlobe article “Data mining the heart. What scientists are learning from online dating”.
As dating interactions have moved from the privacy of bars and social gatherings to the digital world of websites and e-mails, they are generating an unprecedented trove of data about how the initial phases of romance unfold. Most research is done on OkCupid, that now publishes a blog, OKTrends, that delves into its database of more than 1 million users to analyze their interactions.
Some findings reported in the article:
Men get more responses from women if they don’t smile in their profile pictures, and women find most men below average in attractiveness — but write to them anyway.
A man needs to make several extra tens of thousands of dollars to compensate for being an inch shorter, and that race matters more than people admit.
The company found that while men rate women’s attractiveness in an even curve — most women being average — two-thirds of men’s messages go to the best-looking third of the women. Women, on the other hand, are more harsh on men, rating the majority as below average, but are more likely than men to send messages to people they don’t find attractive.
In their online profiles, for instance, all users add an average of two inches to their height and a 20 percent raise in salary.
The data debunk some dating myths. In analyzing 7,000 user photos, the company found that women get more male attention when they flirt into the camera or smile, while men, surprisingly, did better when they looked away from the camera and didn’t smile. Even more surprising, not showing their face in their photos didn’t affect the number of messages users received.