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When you’re online dating, why do you swipe left on one person and swipe right on another?

Because of a nondisclosure agreement, the researchers can't reveal the exact source of their subjects, describing it only as an "established, marriage-oriented, subscription-based dating site" from which they randomly selected 1855 people, all based in New York City.

Besides photographs, each user's profile could include any number of personal details including age, height, weight, education, marital status, number of children, and smoking and drinking habits.

Bruch's team devised a statistical model that maps the "decision rules" people follow during the first two steps.

Instead, the results indicate that you are probably looking for "deal breakers," harshly eliminating those who do not live up to your standards. People met their romantic partners through the recommendations of friends, family, or even at real-world locations known as "bars." Whatever signals and decisions led people to couple up were lost to science. According to the Pew Research Center, 5% of Americans in a committed romantic relationship say they met their partner through an online dating site.

Those 30 million people have generated billions of pieces of data.

But when it came to body weight, men were less likely to browse the profile of a woman who was heavy-set, whereas women showed little aversion to—with some showing even more interest in—heavier-set men.

These patterns also generally held for the second step, messaging, but with smaller effects. The results convince Ken-Hou Lin, a sociologist at the University of Texas, Austin, who also studies online dating.

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