A team led by Elizabeth Bruch, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, tapped into this torrent of dating data.
Because of a nondisclosure agreement, the researchers can't reveal the exact source of their subjects, describing it only as an "established, marriage-oriented, subscription-based dating site" from which they randomly selected 1855 people, all based in New York City.
Then comes the choice to send a person a message, or to reply to one.
And of course, the final, crucial decision, which isn't captured by these data: whether to meet the person in the real world.
Not according to a study of more than 1 million interactions on a dating website published this week in the .
Instead, the results indicate that you are probably looking for "deal breakers," harshly eliminating those who do not live up to your standards. People met their romantic partners through the recommendations of friends, family, or even at real-world locations known as "bars." Whatever signals and decisions led people to couple up were lost to science. According to the Pew Research Center, 5% of Americans in a committed romantic relationship say they met their partner through an online dating site.
The data set includes some 1.1 million interactions between users.
If a profile did not include a photo, for example, both men and women were 20 times less likely to even look at the rest of the person's profile.
Smoking was another big deal breaker, associated with a 10-fold drop in interest.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, men in their 40s tend to be more interested in younger women. "Women care quite a bit more about the height of their partners than vice-versa," Bruch says.
In pairings where men were about 17 centimeters (or about 6 inches) taller than the woman, the woman was about 10 times more likely to browse the guy’s profile, whereas the man was about three times more likely to browse hers.