In case you have suspicions about the ‘algorithms’ used by dating services, they are phony:
Scientists worry that dating sites claim to use exclusive “matching algorithms,” which may be nothing more than a guessing game.
“To date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works,” Finkel said in a press release. [Finkel is the lead author in a study published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest.]
“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.”
Examples of mysterious algorithms include that of eHarmony’s – after a long questionnaire, the site sets you up on dates. You don’t actually get to chose. OkCupid has a formula that matches people based on specific lifestyle questions. Chemistry matches people based on their personality type.
“Developers of matching algorithms have tended to focus on the information that is easy for them to assess, like similarity in personality and attitudes, rather than the information that relationship science has found to be crucial for predicting long-term relationship well-being. As a result, these algorithms are unlikely to be effective,” said Finkel.
Is there really an algorithm for love, though? For as long as dating and relationships have existed, we’ve been trying to figure out a magic formula for love. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t exist.
It does allow people to quickly set up dates, since people have self-selected to be available. That’s all.