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New Study says Profiles Differ Among Age Groups

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Younger daters are really into dating apps – they helped bring Tinder into the mainstream, and now there are a slew of new dating apps hitting the market, allowing you to do everything from set your Instagram feed to music (Raya) and obtain the dating profile of that girl at the coffee shop you just couldn’t bring yourself to talk to (Happn). While younger daters are active on these apps, as it turns out, the fastest-growing group of online daters is 60 and older.

But do younger and older online daters date differently? University of Texas researchers Eden Davis and Karen Fingerman suspected that their were contrasts between their motivations for online dating, but wanted to determine this through the content of their profiles, so they conducted a study published this month about the differences in profile language and motivation each age group has when it comes to dating.

While we know people using dating websites and apps are typically motivated to find a partner and to date, we know little about the differences of what motivates them to use dating sites, what exactly they are looking for, or how they present themselves to different partners. Gathering 4000 online dating profiles from men and women across the United States, the researchers sampled profiles evenly by gender and from four age groups (18 to 29; 30 to 49; 50 to 64; and 65 or over). The final sample ranged in age from 18 to 95.

First, the researchers studied the most common words used in profiles by all age groups, which included: like, love, music, good, enjoy and fun. But they also discovered different age groups used different words in common when crafting their online dating profiles. For younger daters, these most frequently included the words: go, get, work, school, laugh, movies, much, find, think, try and anything.

Older daters seemed to be more focused on building connection. Their profiles most frequently included words like: man, woman, share, relationship, humor, travel, years, honest, important, well, sense, and family.

Eden said in her report: “Notably, older adults used more positive emotion words such as “sweet,” “kind,” and “nice,” more first person plural pronouns such as “we,” “us,” and “our,” and more words in the ‘friends’ category. These findings suggest that when they present themselves to potential partners, older adults focus on positivity and connectedness to others. Not surprisingly, older adults were also more likely to use health-related words such as “ache,” “doctor,” and “exercise.”

Younger adults tended to enhance their profiles, using mostly first-person singular pronouns like “I” and “me.” They also tended to focus on work and achievement.

The researchers concluded that adults of all ages were looking for love and a partner to enjoy life with, but that younger adults focus more on themselves and their own attributes, while older daters focused on positivity and connection to others.