Internet dating is becoming more and more popular

EHarmony asks users to fill out extensive psychological questionnaires, many based on established personality scales.

Ok Cupid asks quirkier questions (e.g., “wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and live on a sailboat? The idea that we can use reliable tests to identify appropriate partners is certainly seductive (forgive the pun).

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While having more choices statistically increases the likelihood of identifying desirable partners, it bears noting that having too much choice can negatively affect daters’ mentality.

Interview-based research has identified a “kid in a candy store” phenomenon, whereby some online daters report that they are less likely to commit to a relationship and work through hurdles when they know there are always other options easily available. It is possible that some daters do find better matches when they have larger pools of partners, whereas others fall prey to the allure of always looking for someone better.

One notable finding is that individuals high in neuroticism (i.e., the personality trait that denotes whether someone tends to experience negative and easily changeable emotions—think Woody Allen’s characters) tend to form the least stable and satisfying unions.

When it comes to values, attitudes, and beliefs, research supports the notion that long-term couples tend to be more similar with each other than random strangers.

However, scientific research does not support it, at least when it comes to personality compatibility.

That is, there is no evidence that extroverts are best matched with introverts, or people who are open to experience prefer others who are also open to experience.That is, individuals typically encounter relatively small numbers of potential partners from whom they can choose.Further, the diversity of these partners is limited, with, say, teachers meeting other teachers, students from a small town meeting others just like them, etc.By contrast, some traditional daters may stumble into relationships that they may not have specifically sought or ardently desired to begin with.Finally, research shows that online daters tend to be wealthier and more highly educated than traditional daters.It can be argued that individuals can make better, more informed choices in a situation where they have lots of diverse options.

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