Why Online Dating Doesn't Work

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smash computer hammer
Not much luck with the online dating? It's not you ...

Explicit personality tests are imperfect and biased by design. Online dating sites that base their compatibility scores on "explicit" stimuli are forgetting that we humans tend to portray ourselves in a more positive light, whether purposefully or not. Let's face it. We do it all the time. We sugar coat things, make ourselves appear better than we really are, don't we? And if the goal is to "promote oneself" in a singles market, then we're going to exaggerate about how adventurous, outgoing, successful, handsome and romantic we are, aren't we? For example, ask anyone the question, "Are you generous?" Who is going to own up and say, "Not one bit. I'm a stingy scrooge?" Based on the answer of this one question, how can OKCupid's algorithm tell apart the genuinely generous person from the fake?

In the job market, 25% of people lie/exaggerate on their CVs (resumes), but here the employers conduct reference checks. In online dating, there is no such equivalent, and we would be delusional to think we could implement such checks effectively. So, we should expect these biases to be especially pervasive in online dating. I bet that the personality traits that people explicitly claim they have, versus the implicit traits that they actually have, differ at least 25% of the time. 

The online dating industry needs a "matching sauce" that takes into account the "implicit data" that we get from each person, rather than the "explicit" stimuli currently used. That is, we need to tap into the subconscious mind of each user, without invading their privacy or publishing their personal results, and use this data to match them with whom they are looking for.

A range of attraction and compatibility indicators need to be analyzed, and the user should be given the choice to assign more or less importance to each indicator. You should blend different ingredients into your own matching sauce. Some may feel that astrology measures attraction accurately, while others may feel that personalities (assessed by an implicit test) best indicate long-term compatibility. No matter how many dashes of astrology you mix into your sauce, you should at least include one dash of an "implicit personality test". Keep reading ...

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