02 October 2018

The Outline: “If you message first in online dating, you might be punching above your weight”

According to research published Wednesday in Science Advances, people tend to initiate online conversation with people who are at least 25 percent more desirable than they are, based on how many initial messages they they received from other users and how “desirable” those users were themselves. Men tend to be even more aspirational than women when sending a first message. But there is only up to a 21 percent chance that the woman a man messages will write back, and that number drops as the desirability gap widens.

The paper analyzed data from heterosexual users of an unspecified “popular, free online dating service” in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle from January of 2014. The highest ranked person in all four cities was a 30-year-old woman in New York City, who received 1504 messages during the period of observation, the equivalent of one message every 30 minutes for the entire month.

Livia Albeck-Ripka

Seems like a fairly obvious conclusion: the laws of evolution and sexual selection encourage individuals to leave behind offspring better adapted than the parents. And so, we are (consciously or unconsciously) seeking out partners that we perceive to be ‘better’ than us on some level, in the hope that out children may inherit their qualities (and ours).

How couples meet in the United-States
As early as 2010 the internet had overtaken churches, neighbourhoods, classrooms and offices as a setting in which Americans might meet a partner of the opposite sex. source: The Economist

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