Can attraction be predicted?
The short answer is no.
Online dating sites hook us with their promises of sorting through the sea of potential matches for us. All you have to do is fill in a detailed survey, and voilà! The algorithm finds the perfect guy for you.
But maybe you’ve been on one of those sites. You’ve seen which “matches” they’ve come up for you. Really? Is that the best they could do?
Here’s what we know.
- We know that what people SAY they want in a mate (confidence, height, a passion for indie bands) bears little resemblance to who they ACTUALLY pick.
- We know that having similar interests doesn’t make you much more likely to LIKE each other romantically.
- We know that chemistry relies on biological compatibility, e.g., the famous “sniff test” whereby his sweaty t-shirt turns you on or leaves you cold.
And now we know that not even the best scientifically-designed algorithm can find any factors (they tested over 100) that predict whether two people will feel attracted to one another.
We’ll let one of the authors of the study, Samantha Joel of the University of Utah, explain: