Braving the perils of online dating? The secret tips revealed by Harvard math majors
The science of sex: Secret online dating tips revealed by Harvard math majors (in graph form, of course)
6:31 PM on 22nd May 2011
More people have ventured into the potentially hazardous waters of online dating than would care to admit – and some of their adventures have been truly hair-raising.
Now a group of former Harvard math majors are crunching the data to reveal the secret tips of the online dater, displaying them in – naturally – graph form.
Men, for example, should show off their six pack if they have one – but only if they”re young. Meanwhile women should always flirt with the camera – but men should look aloof.
Plot your love life: One of the many enlightening charts compiled from data at OkCupid
Mo” money: How wealth is an even more powerful influence on sex drive than culture or religion, according to OkCupid data
The OkTrends blog found at dating website OkCupid have been charting various trends – such as how long relationships last among Twitter users- since 2009.
Scientists are analysing the tips, all written by former Harvard math majors, in a new article by the LATimes – and the results are divided.
“I”m a big fan,” Northwestern University social psychology professor Eli Finkel told the newspaper, adding that the posts are “generally insightful”.
Viren Swami, co-author of The Psychology of Physical Attraction, was less enthusiastic, saying: “They could also potentially be very misleading and, at worst, quite far from the truth”.
Whisper it: The OkTrends blog takes the data from OkCupid and crunches it into tips for online daters
One of the blog”s tips is to ask your date if they”ve ever wanted to run away to sea, whether they enjoyed the Blair Witch Project, or their past travel experiences.
The reasoning, the bloggers explained, was that according to the thousands of multiple choice “match questions” answered by OkCupid”s seven million users, couples who met on the site agreed most often on three questions in particular: “Do you like horror movies”, “Have you ever travelled around another country alone”, and “Wouldn”t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat”
Experts told the LATimes that these types of questions are measuring the “openness to experience” or the O Factor.
“Peoplewho seek stimulation and adventure… they”d be less likely to establish and comfortably maintain a relationship with very traditional,conservative, unimaginative, risk-avoidant indiviudals,” said Western Carolina psychology department head David McCord.
But it can backfire too, for those very same reasons, warned University of Texas psychology professor David Buss. “Sensation-seeking and openness to experience predict infidelity,” he told the newspaper.
Women were also told to flirty with the camera for their profile photo. If they made what OkCupid called “flirty-face”, they received on average 1.5 additional messages per month.
Your body type, sex drive and self-confidence: Another graph charts how a woman”s perception of herself affects her sex life
Be proud of your curves: Curvy women pass skinny ones in self-confidence at age 29 and never look back, according to OkCupid data
How all men have roughly the same peak sex drive – and the thing that matters most for their body image is, simply, not to be overweight
That”s because a woman”s smile is well-documented as a signal of sexual interest. “Flirty smiles trigger what we call men”s sexual over-perception bias,” Dr Buss said.
Only, however, for women. Men were ordered to be aloof on camera. When they did so, they had a roughly 90 per cent success rate with their emails than otherwise.
“There is good evidence that men high in status smile less and that smiling is sometimes interpreted as a sign of submissiveness,” Dr Buss told the LATimes.
“Also, somemale smiles can look like leers, so it”s good to avoid those.”
The data also showed that women who took their “flirty-face” to the next level by showing a bit of cleavage had better results – vastly better results as they got older.
It”s not just about the salami: Vegetarians, as it turns out, enjoy oral sex even more than meat-eaters
One interesting graph breaks down masturbation claims by gender AND religion
According to OkCupid, an 18-year-old woman with a cleavage shot in her profile gets 24 per cent more contacts per month on average than more demure 18-year-olds.
If she does it at age 32, that jumps to 79 per cent more than her buttoned up peers.
“Women”s mate value declines with age,” Dr Kanazawa agreed. “But they can compensate for their decline in mate value by showing their cleavage.”
“It”s bait,” Dr Peter Jonason of the University of South Alabama said.
For men, the inverse is true. Male online daters should show off their six packs in their profile pictures, but only if they are young.
That”s because women in their 30s are less interested in the man”s body than whether or not he will be a good provider, clinical psychologist Marianne Brandon said.
Spike: Believe it or not, another graph shows that younger women enjoy “rough” sex more than younger men – but that doesn”t last long
The words people use that signal whether they are more likely to like rough or gentle sex – culled from their profiles
Dr Jonason added that women who see and older man showing off his abs will just think he is “silly”. “Having a body like that may signal to a woman a level of narcissism and self-centredness that is just not attractive,” he said.
Another tip was both to subtract two inches from the height your potential date claims to be – and 20 per cent from their salary.
For men, the experts said, this makes sense. Height suggests good health and genes; while wealth, obviously, suggests resources. “Men deceive about their status and income in order to make themselves seem more desirable to women,” stated Dr Buss.
Women, however, may not be lying, London School of Economics evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa argued.
If a woman is trying to get dates online, he argued, she must be having difficulty in real life. That could be because she is Amazonian – both men and women prefer that the man is taller.
They also may have a bigger paycheque than the average man – and the very average man prefers, by and large, to be the one who brings home the bacon, he said.