Study Shows Education Matters to Online Daters

  • Saturday, February 04 2017 @ 10:22 am
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Education and Dating

It’s no secret that online daters place a lot of importance on how their potential dates look, swiping left and right based on profile pictures. As it turns out, beauty is only part of the equation. Smarts count, too. For many online daters, the level of education you’ve attained matters – as long as it matches theirs.

A recent study by Queensland University of Technology found that online daters tend to select partners who have completed the same level of formal education; in other words, like attracts like.

Researchers studied the interactions of almost 42,000 online daters from Australia with a large age range, from 18 to 80. They gathered data from participants using the dating site during a four-month period in 2016.

[Education] “is commonly used in human mating behavior as a proxy for resources and future provision as it can represent economic advantages," said researcher Robert Whyte.

IAC, who owns dating site Match as well as popular app Tinder, notes that the period from December 26 to February 14 is peak season for online dating. More than 50 million messages are sent, 5 million photos are uploaded, and an estimated 1 million dates will take place. Considering the amount of swiping daters do the rest of the year, this is an especially frenzied time of making quick judgments about matches, including dismissing them for their level of education.

The study also found a contrary link: older (and more educated) online daters seem to care less about how educated their matches are, and there is a difference along gender lines as well. Older women and younger men care the least about their partners matching their own education levels. In fact, they are fine with partners who are less educated.

“The internet has completely changed how people choose dating partners to find love. Our study is a step towards understanding how technology is impacting on mate choice decisions based on education," the researchers said in a statement.

Education isn’t the only common trait that online daters seek – age, attractiveness and personality are also huge influencers when it comes to choosing matches.

Finding someone who is similar to us isn’t a new idea. Traditionally, we’ve gravitated to people who look, think and even speak like we do. People aren’t just swiping right on an attractive profile, but on someone who reminds them of themselves. In a previous study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers found that people who speak in similar styles are also more compatible romantically.

So what does this mean for online dating? Are we subconsciously destined to choose people who remind us of ourselves, or should we try and date outside of our psychological comfort zones?

Now that it’s peak online dating season, perhaps more online daters would benefit from dating outside their type. At least, it would widen their options.

For more information on the dating service from Australia that was part of the study, you can check out our RSVP review.