Psychological effects of online dating

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A set of graphs doing the rounds on Twitter recently purported to show the changes in how heterosexual and homosexual couples meet.

While categories such as “through friends”, “in a bar”, and “at school/work” were either declining or holding steady, one category has exploded in the last decade: “met online”.

When people use categories to predict an interaction (but not pay attention to the other's real communications, they will produce two outcomes: a), avoiding love from right individuals, and, b) approaching the wrong person(s).

This kind of distorted cognitions can only be rectified through the regular and meaningful interactions, which help individuals find out that they are worthy others' love and appreciation.

In the last few years, higher-quality research which has allowed the "meta-analysis" of previously published research, has shown the negative effects of divorce on children have been greatly exaggerated.

Some people believe that recent research on online dating/matching sheds a new light on understanding attraction, love, and romantic relationships.

But is dating online that different from the traditional methods on a psychological level? The wealth of available singles flooding the mind can also cause conflation of information, and here the paper from the Association of Psychological Science is unequivocal: “browsing many profiles fosters judgemental and assessment-oriented evaluations that can cognitively overwhelm users”.The meaningful interactions depend on two factors: (1) the right opportunities (the right time, place, persons, and further communications) and, (2) the right mind (absence of biases about the self and others). Although psychological research on attraction has identified several variables, such as disclosure reciprocity (revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others), mutual eye gazing, mutual reward, similarity and physical attractiveness, these variables are worthless unless people who possess the attributes and tendencies have the opportunities to implement them to the targets of attraction.On the other hand, the right mind is more important factor.Online daters tend to fill in the information gaps with positive qualities in a potential partner; on the other hand, everyone wants to make the self appear as attractive as possible to potential dates by exaggerating the self desirable traits. There are gender differences in both preference and messaging behavior on online dating sites.Women weigh income more than physical characteristics, and men sought physical attractiveness and offered status-related information more than women. The service users preferred similarity on a variety of (mainly demographic) categories (including child preferences, education, and physical features like height, age, race, religion, political views, and smoking).

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