Online dating birds
When we are exposed to matches, we tend to pursue people who are similar.
And after we start dating, we may grow to be even more alike.
Dan Ariely, an economist who studies online dating, compares people to wine — you may like them for reasons you can’t quantify.
The scientists I spoke to at e Harmony and Ok Cupid agreed.
In the face of these forces, it’s perhaps small wonder that the dimensions along which opposites attract hide in the statistical shadows.
But even believers in algorithmic approaches to love acknowledge these shadows exist.
We make genetic discoveries by combining DNA from saliva samples with thousands of survey questions, some of which you might find on a dating site — “Have you ever cheated on a long-term relationship partner or spouse?
” — but many you wouldn’t — “Has a doctor ever diagnosed you with Parkinson’s disease?
" like attractiveness or physical fitness, tend to follow the second pattern: Everyone prefers hotter, fitter people, but hot, fit people show a stronger preference for people like them.
In general, widely considered positive traits, Dan Ariely, an economist who studies online dating, refers to traits where everyone prefers the same thing as examples of “vertical preferences,” as opposed to “horizontal preferences,” when people prefer those who are similar.
He also finds that horizontal preferences are more important in producing the “birds of a feather” effect.
I also looked for opposites attracting in other online dating data.
I spoke to Christian Rudder, founder of Ok Cupid, which has a rich and idiosyncratic data set.