Benefits of Online Dating

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Dr. John Cacioppo: You’ve come up with three different compelling hypotheses for the research findings. I’m hoping that you will share them with our listeners.


Dr. John Cacioppo

I’ll go through more than three.

Benefits of Online Dating: Educated, Wealthy Pool

The most obvious one is selection bias.

The people who were more educated and wealthier are more likely to meet online. That sets a strong foundation for a happier, longer marriage as well.

We statistically controlled for those differences and found that it didn’t eliminate the differences that I just mentioned.

There are a couple of possibilities, all of which are probably operating. One is a different kind of selection bias.

If I’m going to a particular site because I want to find a marital partner and the others who are at that site are doing that because they want to find a marital partner, there is a commonality in motivations.

Benefits of Online Dating: Aligned Intentions

That commonality may promote finding a longer lasting match, just because all of the intentions are aligned.

That’s different, for instance, than if you meet at a bar. Chances are, you may not be aligned. Yet it still may end up at an outcome.

That outcome may not be as durable because it had early misalignment of intentions. I think that’s clearly something that warrants additional investigation.

Benefits of Online Dating: Larger Pool

It’s also likely that, through online venues, you have a larger pool.

I live in Chicago where we have a lot of people in the city. Most people don’t have access to quite that large of a pool. Online opens up the number of individuals that you can choose from.

With more opportunities are more options. The likelihood of finding just the right match increases. That’s a possible process that’s operating.

Benefits of Online Dating: Easy to Say ‘No’

The third is that it may be easier to say no.

If you meet someone through friends, family or through work and one or both start to get cold feet, it’s a little bit difficult to extract.

If you meet someone online, it’s much simpler. That may be as important a process as the additional opportunities.

The Vietnam War was a war that we entered not completely intentionally, but it was by mild escalation. We found ourselves in this war that we couldn’t get out of.

Some marriages may sometimes be the result of a similar process.

Benefits of Online Dating: Honest Interaction

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, research in laboratories has shown that, if you meet through computers or if you meet another individual in a completely dark room, you are somewhat more honest in your disclosures.

As a result of that, you like the person more and are liked more by the person than if you meet face-to-face initially, where self-presentational concerns start to dominate how you interact with the other person.

That’s also a possibility. In these online settings, people are likely to be a little bit more authentic in terms of how they’re presenting themselves. As a result, they’re more likely to find an authentic and lasting match.


Tell Us:

Do you know of any other benefits of online dating? Share with us in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Dr. John Cacioppo

The entire interview transcript is at: Dr. John Cacioppo Interview – Insights From A Social Psychologist on Growth of Online Dating

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: Insights From A Social Psychologist on Growth of Online Dating – John Cacioppo

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes