Dating site glossary

Edward Royzman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, asks me to list four qualities on a piece of paper: physical attractiveness, income, kindness, and fidelity.

Then he gives me 200 virtual “date points” that I’m to distribute among the four traits.

(One study found that the owner of an "honest" face is not any more likely to be trustworthy, for example.)It’s true that attractive people generally are treated more nicely by others, and they might have better-adjusted personalities as a result. In relationships, personality eventually overtakes attractiveness—or at the very least, we tend to find people more attractive when we think they have good personalities.

As one columnist who used the service put it, “There’s a short bio, age, and mutual friends listed, but who’s really paying attention to that stuff when your Tinder flame is wearing next to nothing on the beach?

”Then there’s Hinge, which uses a similar interface, but is backed by recommendations from the user’s “social graph,” such as their school or career field.

This trait game, along with Royzman’s review of the literature on attraction, hints at some of the endless quirks of the online dating marketplace.

You might like someone online, but they put 100 on income, and unfortunately you’re about a 10.

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