Online dating response rate
Seattle is also a market where straight men may have to work harder to find a date, the researchers pointed out.“Seattle presents the most unfavorable dating climate for men, with as many as two men for every woman in some segments of the user population,” the study authors wrote.It seems that people do seek out more desirable partners – but that desirability is closely calibrated to their own attractiveness.
There was one exception: Seattle men had the “most pronounced” rise in message length for desirable partners, and the strategy actually seemed to work, resulting in a higher response rate.Or did they know that they were seeking out relatively more attractive mates?To find out, the scientists analyzed the messages they sent, picking up on some clear patterns.For men seeking more desirable women, the response rate went as high as 21% — high enough that the effort may be worth it, the scientists said.“One of the take home messages here is that it might pay to be persistent,” Bruch said – to send messages to many desirable users, in the hopes of getting a response from one of them.“It seems like even writing 10 messages to find someone you find incredibly desirable is a pretty modest investment of time and energy,” she said.Bruch also pointed to other research indicating that, essentially, people are at their most superficial in the earliest stages of when they meet, and begin to value other characteristics as they get to know each other.“If that’s true, then what we would expect is that these desirability differences matter most in this first message and reply,” she said, “and then the desirability gap ceases to be as important in determining whether people move on to the next stage.”Perhaps studying the number of follow-up messages, or the contents of the replies, could start to shed more light on that dynamic, said Bruch.On the other hand, it could mean that people try to find slightly more attractive mates – which results in the same pattern as the most desirable partners pair off, followed by the next most desirable, and so on.
The problem is that looking at established couples leaves out the actual process of courtship – which could tell you much more about what people look for in a mate, how they woo them and how often they’re rejected.“What you don’t observe is all the people who asked out someone who said ‘no’ – which is really the information you need if you want to understand desirability hierarchies,” said lead author Elizabeth Bruch, a computational sociologist at the University of Michigan.
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In the meantime, Bruch said the findings from Seattle – where men wrote longer messages and were also rewarded for it, in contrast to New York, Boston and Chicago – has inspired her to look deeper into the differences in dating experiences between different [email protected] @aminawrite on Twitter for more science news and “like” Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook.
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Online dating offers a solution, because you can see who first contacts whom, and whether the recipient responds to that initial message.