With prices ranging from totally free to per month, how can you get the most for your money with online dating services? You might assume that the more choices you have, the greater your chances are of finding that one ideal mate.
This actually goes counter to psychological research on decision-making.
Based on the numbers alone, the advantages of online dating services seem obvious.
The sites grant access to larger pools of potential dates than you could ever find on your own, and the more people you connect with, the greater the chance is that one of those people could be your soul mate.
(MORE: Here’s How Your Identity Will Be Stolen: The Top 10 Scams) What’s worse, online dating services make claims that are largely unfounded.
Sites may say they use scientific methods and proven algorithms as the basis for matching, but they don’t release the data due to proprietary reasons, or the data they produce don’t fit the criteria for scientific acceptability.
Some sites even promise “scientific formulas” to create perfect matches, making it sound as if the odds of finding true love are all but guaranteed.
And while you can’t put a price on love, you can at least try to spend your money on dating sites in the smartest way possible.Dating sites don’t use controlled studies, for example, which would be nearly impossible.These issues haven’t stopped promoters from making outlandish, unproven claims, such as the bizarre one from Gene Partner, a site that says its matchmaking abilities are superior because it incorporates users’ DNA: “Now, hard science is making it easier to find true love.Whether it’s picking a T-shirt from a range of 20 different colors, or finding an online match among thousands, “choice overload” has been proven to lead people to make worse choices.
A team of researchers led by Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, decided to test the claims of dating sites by comparing the likelihood that users would not only find, but also stick with their “online soul mates” for the long haul.Their study, published in op-ed, concludes that even though as many as 25 million people per month seek matches through online dating services, these individuals are no more likely to find their soul mates than people who hook up with partners through conventional methods—singles bars, blind dates, friends of friends.