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The Science Behind Online Dating: What Makes a Match?

by Artur Ostroverkhov

The search for love nowadays often starts with a swipe or click.

Through online dating, people can quickly meet many potential partners from all over the world. Nevertheless, what lies behind these algorithms and profiles? Which scientific principles determine compatibility within e-dating?


At the heart of online match dating platforms are sophisticated algorithms designed to connect individuals based on various factors. This involves algorithmic calculations that utilize user information, such as personal preferences, interests, behaviors, and compatibility metrics. The intention of these analyses within dating platforms is to enhance the probability that users will establish contact with each other and engage in meaningful interactions.


Personality compatibility is a key element in matchmaking. Studies have shown that people are usually drawn to those who have similar personalities. To determine if two people are compatible, most online dating sites use personality tests/questionnaires derived from psychology. For instance, the Five Factor Model (FFM), or Big Five Personality Traits, evaluates people using certain criteria such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Then, it recommends matches based on complementing or compatible profiles of personalities.


Online dating is greatly influenced by psychological principles. For instance, proximity, similarity, and reciprocity are factors that affect attraction as well as relationship creation. They increase the chances for users to find matches with individuals residing closely and having similar preferences or mutual acquaintances. Moreover, the mere exposure effect suggests that people tend to develop a preference for things they are familiar with. In online dating, this translates to users being more likely to engage with profiles they encounter frequently or share similarities with.


Evolutionary biology provides insights into mate selection strategies that shape online dating behavior. According to evolutionary theory, humans seek partners who possess qualities that enhance reproductive success, such as physical attractiveness, health, and resources. Profile pictures are often given much attention on online dating sites, enabling people to judge each other quickly by their appearance. Nevertheless, one should note that education level, job status, as well as wealth, may affect the choice of a partner too; this represents preferences for socioeconomic evolution.


Beyond initial attraction, communication plays a crucial role in forming and sustaining relationships. Effective communication fosters emotional intimacy and understanding between partners. Online dating platforms facilitate communication through messaging systems, chat features, and video calls.

Research indicates that successful online daters engage in meaningful conversations, asking open-ended questions, and showing genuine interest in their potential partners. Moreover, shared experiences, both online and offline, contribute to the development of a deeper connection.

Related articles: How to Date An Introvert


The algorithms used in online dating platforms are continuously improved through collecting information concerning user behavior and preferences. Due to this approach that depends on information, users are able to influence the advice given by the system so that with time they can get better matches or dates. By analyzing user feedback, dating sites can adapt to changing trends and preferences, ensuring that their algorithms remain effective and responsive to users' needs.


Online dating is a combination of different scientific disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, and technology. Many elements affect the process of matching two people together, from personality compatibility to even evolutionary biology-based theories. Through the use of statistical algorithms informed by psychology, online daters hope for love that is deep even in this era of zeros and ones.

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Related articles: Modern Dating Etiquette

Ultimately, while algorithms and scientific principles guide the matchmaking process, the success of online dating still hinges on individual experiences, communication skills, and the dynamics of human relationships. As technology continues to evolve, so too will our understanding of what makes a perfect match in the world of online dating.


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