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They were contacted much more than men and, hence, generally had their choice of who to reply to.

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In light of these findings, the researchers presented some advice to potential online daters: “Choose wisely and, if possible, be female” (Fiore et al., 2010).

This study also leads to some intriguing design ideas for online dating sites’ automatic matching systems, which present users with sets of likely partners.

Take Your Pick For millions of years, humans have been selecting mates using the wealth of information gleaned in face-to-face interactions — not just appearance, but characteristics such as tone of voice, body language, and scent, as well as immediate feedback to their own communications. Or are words the key to someone’s heart (or at least their inbox)?

Does mate selection differ when those looking are presented with an almost overwhelming number of potential partners, but limited to a few photos, statistics, and an introductory paragraph about each one? In one survey of Australian online daters, 85% said they would not contact someone without a posted photo, so physical appearance is indeed important (Fiore et al., 2008).

The modern world provides two new ways to find love — online matchmaking and speed dating.

In the last few years, these methods have moved from a last resort for the loveless to a more accepted way for millions to try to meet their mates.Some theorize that online daters may be wearing rose colored glasses when looking at potential dates — filling in the information gaps with positive qualities in a potential partner (Gibbs et al., 2006).In one study, knowing more information about a potential date generally led to liking them less, possibly because it called out inconsistencies and reduced opportunities to fill in the blanks with positive inferences.More popular users are contacted more and, therefore, are less likely to respond to any one user.Taking this into account, dating sites may want to steer users toward slightly less popular potential dates who are more likely to respond, “a trade-off many users may willingly accept” (Fiore et al., 2010).But, with a particularly compatible partner, more information led to more liking.

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