In a study paper soon to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, a team of psychological scientists have called out online dating sites and their algorithms. The study, which delves into the use of matchmaking algorithms by online dating sites to find singles prospective partners has found that the methods and process used are at best cosmetic.
Many dating sites offer matchmaking services and promise to provide you with a fitting match after assessing your profile and “matching” it with those of others similar or most compatible with yours. This study however analysed a number of these matchmaking algorithms and found that they use non-scientific methods to determine matches. Using only shallow statistical methods, the algorithms only match singles based on rudimentary analysis rather than deep relational science analysis.
“To date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works,” lead author Eli Finkel, Associate Professor of Social Psychology at Northwestern University observes. “If dating sites want to claim that their matching algorithm is scientifically valid, they need to adhere to the standards of science, which is something they have uniformly failed to do. In fact, our report concludes that it is unlikely that their algorithms can work, even in principle, given the limitations of the sorts of matching procedures that these sites use.”
The author goes further to suggest that dating has more to do with face-to-face romantic evaluation, something that online dating simply cannot deliver. He also goes further to say that relational science is better placed to determine dating outcomes than mathematical algorithms because it can study deeper aspects and nuances of personality and preference, things that cannot be adduced by studying simply online profiles.
What this essentially means is that for millions of singles using such online dating sites, the best service the sites can offer is to simply provide that fist point of contact and open the way for an offline face-to-face meetup, nothing more.