The New York Times:
Work and romance may seem like a bad combination, but as more work, and more romance, goes online, the two are meeting in interesting ways. LinkedUp is one startup banking on a version of the old saw that you’re likely to meet your mate at work, while eHarmony, a veteran of online dating, has decided to deploy its expertise to match job seekers with potential employers.
“Elevated Careers by eHarmony,” scheduled to start in December, seeks to improve a company’s employee retention rates by looking at more than skills and resumes — companies would be more productive, and more profitable, if their workers were more satisfied and stayed at the company longer. Taking into account an applicant’s personality, how it might fit with the company’s cultureand how it might mesh with management, may help to improve both factors.
But even with eHarmony’s 600,000 married couples, there’s still plenty of skepticism about whether online dating sites work. OkCupid conducted an unannounced test recently that manipulated users’ profiles and found that what you write on your profile doesn’t have any bearing on whether another user finds you attractive.
And Eli J. Finkel and Susan Sprecher, professors of psychology and of anthropology and sociology, respectively, write in Scientific American that the claims of matching sites don’t bear out in real life:
“From a scientific perspective, there are two problems with matching sites’ claims. The first is that those very sites that tout their scientific bona fides have failed to provide a shred of evidence that would convince anybody with scientific training. The second is that the weight of the scientific evidence suggests that the principles underlying current mathematical matching algorithms — similarity and complementarity — cannot achieve any notable level of success in fostering long-term romantic compatibility.”
Mr. Finkel and Ms. Sprecher are part of a team that wrote a longer psychology paper, summarized on Science of Us, arguing this in greater depth. What a person might find attractive on a profile may have no correlation to what they find attractive in real life, the report says, and browsing profiles “fosters judgmental, assessment-oriented evaluations and can cognitively overwhelm users, two processes that can ultimately undermine romantic outcomes.” What improves outcomes most is access to a wider pool of potentially interested (and interesting) people to connect with.
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