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Profiles were corroborated with real-life measurements of a sample of users.About half of the men lied about their height, adding at least a half inch to their stature, while more than 60 percent of all participants skewed their weight by five pounds or more.
The scores given to pre-dates were much higher than those for post-dates.
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.
Though it’s nowhere near an in-person encounter, Norton said you can get a feel for whether the person is funny or a good listener.
“People also will use their avatars to flirt so you can go a little closer or a little farther away,” Norton said.
But on average, as you learn more about any lover, the less likely it is that you will click and get along with them, Norton explained.
Online dating 101 Norton 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.
Participants gave much lower ratings to potential dates and also perceived less similarity with them when they were shown greater, rather than fewer, numbers of traits.
The results are detailed in the January issue of the .
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