MONDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Online dating has upended traditional matchmaking, new research suggests, with more would-be suitors embracing the notion that Mr. or Ms. Right may only be a click away.
A review of roughly 400 studies and surveys reveals that for an estimated 25 million users around the world, the online dating scene has gone mainstream, shedding all vestiges of stigma.
Online dating is now second only to direct introductions though friends as a means of lighting the candle of romance.
However, the investigating team cautions that matchmaking sites may foster unrealistic expectations, while boasting of allegedly "scientific" dating formulas that are misleading and unproven.
"What we found is that online dating is a terrific and accepted addition to the ways people can meet," said study lead author Eli Finkel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. "It helps all kinds of people get access to potential partners they might not otherwise have met. And it also tends to be particularly helpful to people who have idiosyncratic needs, such as same-sex partners or those who struggle with certain handicaps."
On the other hand, Finkel added, "many of the online industry sites say that they have used science to figure out who is compatible with you. And they make a lot of money with those claims. But the reality is they have presented no evidence to back up their notion of a 'special sauce'. And our review actually suggests that it's almost impossible that what they claimed they've figured out actually works, or that there's anything to it."
The study appears in the February issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
While less than 1 percent of Americans met mates via printed personals in the early 1990s, by 2005 a whopping 37 percent of singles said they had embarked on a date in
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