As individuals create their profile, they make a choice of whether they want to portray their actual self or their ideal self.
It is up to the other participants with whom they communicate to determine if they are being honest or not, and weigh the importance of this information.
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.
And of course, the final, crucial decision, which isn't captured by these data: whether to meet the person in the real world.For example, says Lin, "Tinder doesn't allow users to search, and emphasizes the photos much more than [personal] attributes, which might reduce the deal breaker effects." Then again, perhaps that simply shifts the deal breakers to a person's appearance instead.Online dating is a growing social phenomenon that has evolved from a controversial practice to a relatively accepted method of seeking a significant other.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.Bruch's team devised a statistical model that maps the "decision rules" people follow during the first two steps.Bruch and her team divided the rules into two broad categories, "deal breakers" and "deal makers," used to exclude or include people for the next level of contact."I expect positive selection to kick in at a later stage of the search," he says.Lin hopes that other dating sites will release similar data, because website design could play a bit part in how people make decisions.When it comes to the early stage of dating, it seems to be all about the deal breakers.For one, prospective daters were wary of proceeding sight unseen.