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“Once you start this process of saying, ‘Ah, it’s not going well,’ it’s like an avalanche basically,” Norton said.

In the second reinforcing experiment, scientists surveyed two groups of online daters.

Online dating 101Norton and his colleagues, including Dan Ariely of MIT and Jeana Frost of Boston University, initiated the study with the help of online dating services like e Harmony and Match.com, though he refused to say which specific ones.

“We were working with a couple of online dating companies who were finding that their users got very unhappy very quickly with online dating. To find out, they showed each of 304 online daters, average age 34, a grab-bag of anywhere from one to 10 traits randomly culled from more than 200 characteristics gathered from real online daters.

Here are 12 pros and cons of using a dating site as well as trying to meet someone offline.

The scores given to pre-dates were much higher than those for post-dates.They end up being disappointed again.”Little white lies add to the inflated expectations.“One of the reasons people are so optimistic when they read these things is because everybody kind of shades their profile a little bit more positive then maybe it should be,” Norton said.And the perceived degree of similarity between participants and dates also took a dive after face-to-face encounters. Online profiles inherently provide limited pictures of people, a level of vagueness that is fuel, Norton said, for love-seeking imaginations.“Because people so much want to find somebody, we find that they read into the profile.They kind of see that person as a good match for them, and that they have a lot in common,” Norton told .“And when they finally meet in person, they find out it’s just a regular person like everybody else.

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