Published on February 7th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Online Dating Mixed Bag, Study Says
Ah, online dating- either you’re happily married or your checking your inbox in another tab right now.
While the prospect of meeting the perfect chick or dude online may be slightly exciting, everyone also kind of approaches it as a bit of a chore- no one actually wants to sort through the myriad lonely hearts waiting over on Match.com or OkCupid or FetLife or wherever it is your demographic gets their hookup on. Horror stories abound relating to secretly marrieds, secret fatties, secret poors and the generally socially awkward- who of course, flock to the sites in droves because they’re all on the internet anyway and too geeky to meet people in bars. (And far from being a hater, I actually fit into this category myself.)
It’s been about 17 years since online dating started to become a “thing,” and plenty of study has been poured into whether the pursuit is more, less or as desirable as meeting people the old fashioned way, through a series of awkward one night stands. Monday, an extensive study was published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and researchers came to the conclusion that the practice is not without significant pros and cons– kind of making it a social wash.
Associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and study lead author Eli Finkel contrasted the massive pool of dating prospects with some significant drawbacks- mainly that it is time consuming and can result in some unhealthy “idealizing” of potential dates. Finkel also notes perhaps the biggest factor in online dating success- the presence of real-life chemistry:
“You get people online who think they know what they want in a partner, but that’s not going to dovetail with what actually inspires their attraction when they meet a flesh-and-blood person.”
Do you find online dating to be- as Finkel aptly describes it- “cognitively overwhelming?” Or is it a welcome trade-off to be able to chat someone up while watching reruns of Dr. Who in another tab?