The Science of Attraction: How Algorithms Define Your Perfect Match

VViolet September 14, 2023 3:22 PM

We've all been there. You sign up for a dating site, answer a bunch of personal questions, then sit back and wait for the algorithm to work its magic. But have you ever wondered how exactly these dating algorithms decide who your perfect match is?

Understanding Dating Algorithms

In its simplest form, a dating algorithm is a computer program that uses your responses to a series of questions to determine a list of potential matches. The algorithm might consider factors such as your age, location, interests, and even your behavior on the site.

But it's not just any questions that these algorithms analyze. They usually focus on areas that are scientifically proven to be significant in a relationship. Like, how often you want to be in contact with your partner, how important religion is to you, and how you handle conflict.

Let's take a look at how some popular dating apps use algorithms to match their users.

Dating App Approach
OkCupid Uses a mathematical algorithm based on your answers to match questions, your desired match's answers, and the importance you assign to each question. Uses a combination of algorithmic and human input. It uses its algorithm to predict what it calls 'Romantic Compatibility'.
eHarmony Relies heavily on a lengthy questionnaire and a proprietary algorithm to match users on compatibility.
Tinder Uses a ranking algorithm based on swiping behaviors to determine match. It considers factors such as how many times you log on, and how and when you swipe right.

The Science Behind Attraction

While computers and algorithms play a big part in online dating, they can only replicate the more straightforward aspects of human attraction. The science of attraction is complex and multifaceted, encompassing everything from physical appearance and personality to timing and shared experiences.

For example, studies have shown that people tend to be attracted to those who are similar to them in terms of values, backgrounds, and interests. On the other hand, complementary personality traits can also play a key role in attraction. And let's not forget about the mysterious 'chemistry' that can spark between two people for seemingly no reason at all.

The Evolution of Dating with Algorithms

The use of algorithms in dating isn't a new phenomenon. The first dating algorithms were developed in the 1960s and were based largely on what people said they were looking for in a partner. But as technology has evolved, so too have dating algorithms.

Today, more advanced algorithms can take into account a variety of factors, including your behavior on an app, your social media activity, and even your location. These algorithms are designed to learn from your actions and preferences, ultimately leading to more precise matches.

The Limitations of Dating Algorithms

While dating algorithms have come a long way, they're not perfect. One limitation is that they can only work with the information they're given. If a user isn't honest or thorough in their dating profile or questionnaire, the algorithm's accuracy will be compromised.

Plus, dating algorithms can't account for everything. They can't replicate the chemistry that can develop between two people meeting in person. And they can't predict how a relationship will evolve over time.

In conclusion, dating algorithms can be a useful tool in the search for love, but they're not a magic solution. The science of attraction is complex and always evolving, much like love itself.

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