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As Finkel and his colleagues state, you may make “lazy, ill-informed decisions” because you’re selecting from such a large group of potential matches.The mindset you develop in this process can also cause you to think of a romantic partner not as a person but as someone who is easily interchangeable with someone else.The decision-making processes we go through when we’re examining online profiles are also different than those we use in offline situations.As you flip through those profiles, you’re not necessarily pausing and studying each one as carefully as you would a real person.
However, even if they could come through on their claims (which I’ll examine in a minute), think about the logic of this process.
Online dating sites promise to use science to match you with the love of your life.
Many of them even go beyond the matching process to help you confront the complex world of finding (and keeping) partners.
When you meet someone in person, you have nonverbal cues as well as the actual qualities of the person right there in front of you to guide your judgment (the vibes, as it were).
That person may lie about some important fact, such as being married, but at least you have plenty of data in front of you on which to base some sort of decision.
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In a recent comprehensive analysis, Northwestern University psychologist Eli Finkel and collaborators claim that online dating sites not only don’t improve, but may even hurt those seeking happiness in their relationships.