Love Match Made in the Code

Description: In the quest to find true love, is filling out a questionnaire on a Web site any more scientific than praying to St. Valentine?

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 1, 2013
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Yes, according to psychologists at eHarmony, an online company that claims its computerized algorithms will help match you with a “soul mate.” But this claim was criticized in a psychology journal last year by a team of academic researchers, who concluded that “no compelling evidence supports matching sites’ claims that mathematical algorithms work.”            Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

1. In the quest to find true love, is filling out a questionnaire on a Web site any more scientific than praying to St. Valentine? Why or why not!

2.  Would you personally use a match-making site? Why or why not?

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22 thoughts on “Love Match Made in the Code

  1. David Fox

    Overall, I would not use a match making website as it Lacks the human element, and part of the excitement of dating is getting to know a person, not just a spreadsheet of claims.

    However, As a computer science student, I do understand the premise of gathering data and establishing patterns or matches via algorithms and results. While this is scientific in approach the premise of basing science off of subjective matters seems to make it more of a quasi-sciences than science. Simple data entry can have mistakes, and depending on how a person feels at the time of answering the questionnaire their responses could vary. The results are then processed and matched which seems to involve an amount of chance, as the data input was questionable and as to how the algorithms process the information is unknown. While this is indeed is based on scientific principles the application of it seems to involve chance.

    Prayer in my opinion is a completely different field than that of science. Although there have been research attempts to quantify the effects of prayer on experiments, I do not believe the results were published or accepted by a scientific community. Seemly prayer is more of a religious exercise or application, and though the acceptance of such religions, vary person to person. It is something that is personable and independent from science. Many people have devoted entire lifetimes to the understanding and study of religion. And the conclusions for which each person comes to, regarding its efficacy or validity, is something that each person must ask for themselves.

    Reply
  2. Will Mammo

    The way i see it, filling out the questionnaires on E-Harmony is like writing an exam to get a license. Yes, the test shows that you are qualified to drive and it will give you the opportunity to explore the road, but it simply does not mean that you are a good driver. Likewise, E- Harmony will bring forward many possible matches through the answers you provided, but that does not mean that you can be with which ever one you want. This website should be used as a guide to find a match, not as an assuring factor. So yes it is more scientific than praying to st.valentine, but it is not a guaranteed path to finding your match. Personally, i would not use E-Harmony, not because i wouldn’t want to have 100 matches, but because as a student, my pocket prefers to spend $60 a month on groceries rather than a dating website. Then, i can actually try to find my match my match with a full stomach and all the energy.

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  3. Yaqian Diao

    In my opinion, in the quest to find true love, filling out a questionnaire on a Web site is more scientific than praying to St. Valentine. If people just pray to St. Valentine, it just can console them. They just can meet people who they can meet around them every day. However, if they fill out a questionnaire on a web site, they can know more people, who they are interested in. It is because that there is a large amount of information of the people who would like to find the true love. The website can offer the pictures, interests, requirements, and current situation. If people can find someone interesting, they can contact with each other. Thus, there is more chance for people to know and make friends.
    I may personally use a match-making site to find a man who I would like to marry. However, in order to protecting myself, I will make friend with him first. I prefer to take some time to know much more about each other, and then decide to whether or not marry. One of the reasons is that there are still lots of crimes on the websites. We should take good care of ourselves. Another reason is that when we fill out a questionnaire, we always beautify us. We‘d better get touch with each other to know whether or not the person really fits for us.

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  4. Carlie Willimont

    Praying to St. Valentine seems to be a pretty ineffective way of finding love. However so does filling out an online survey about yourself, which most people lie about. Filling out this survey may match you with others who share similar interests or answered questions the same way. I think meeting a person while you’re doing an activity you enjoy is more effective than both saying you like to do an activity on a survey. Meeting someone in a coffee shop you get a much better feel for their personality or what they actually enjoy then reading it off a dating site. I personally wouldn’t use this type of site because I think it limits the people you will meet. If you’re using these types of dating sites you’ve potentially already limited your interaction with others and aren’t necessarily outgoing. In this type of situation maybe online dating can be a good thing, however I would rather meet an outgoing fun person in a coffee shop, bar or anywhere else that I would actually get to know the person.

    Reply
  5. James Mahoney

    The use of E-harmony seems to have both its ups and downs when it comes to the dating world. I think that if someone was single and in a stage of there life where they wanted to find a partner to settle down with, E-harmony would be a great answer. Obviously I don’t think that anyone can make an algorithm that will be a perfect substitute for face-to-face connection and meeting someone in real life. But at this moment in time it seems as though E-harmony has the best method of matching people in the cyber world. I have no doubt that there will be greater improvements in their algorithm to create even better matches between their registered users. It seems strange that they haven’t conducted the study to see what areas need to be improved, since the cost is relatively for the size of their company. But all and all I think that E-harmony would be at least great starting place for people to meet. As stated in the article “where else am I going to meet 100 women in the net six weeks?”
    Personally at this stage of my life I don’t feel as though E-harmony is somewhere that I would want to meet women. But hey, I’ll never say never, if I get to be 40 years old and looking for a wife then I don’t see why using E-harmony (or some other type of site) would be a problem; I would much rather meet a women in real life though.

    Reply
  6. Eric Choi

    I would personally say yes, because by praying to st. Valentine, nothing gets accomplished. But by filling out a questionnaire online, that website can try its best and use its algorithm to find someone that is close to what the users looking for. If for chance that the user does meet someone random and goes on a date, the opposite sex might be someone that the user will not be attracted to.

    IF I did not have a girlfriend, and if I was limited in meeting people, I would for sure try the questionnaire to create more change to meet people that are like me. That increases the chance to meet someone who is close to my values, personality, etc…

    Reply
  7. Jill

    The older I get, the more it seems to me that most romantic relationships are very similar and follow the same pattern. Despite overwhelming feelings of love in the beginning, after the honeymoon period, true love can get lost in the daily routine of regular life. Depending on how a couple reacts to the daily routine will change the dynamics of the relationship. Knowing how a partner deals with stress, how much time they prefer to spend with a partner, and how they like to spend that time can make or break a relationship. The six things that e-harmony tries to match sound like the things that sustain a relationship once the initial feeling of falling in love and the honeymoon period has worn off. If I’m an optimistic person I’m not going to want to come home to a pessimist every day. Or if I want to go out and experience new things, I won’t be content married to a homebody, no matter how much I was initially attracted to them in the beginning. I want to share a life with someone, not just exist in the same house. I agree with the last quote by Dr. Reis. If I were single but wanted to be in a relationship, a matchmaking site would allow me to quickly peruse a number of potential partners. But I would be cautious and want to form my own opinion of my potential mate before committing to an exclusive relationship. Since e-harmony’s algorithm is focused on the sustainability of the relationship, I’d still have to go through the process of falling in love that would make me want to commit to the relationship.

    Reply
  8. Songxuan Wu

    This is an interesting way to find your lover, but I think the way of filling out a questionnaire looks like a game. People have too many diversity, and they have own different mind and behaviors in different period. The questionnaire is hard to evaluate a person and show their unique, even people sometimes cannot know themselves. Maybe some people want to look for similar people to understand their mind, but some people more prefer different style people to live. Therefore, the questionnaire cannot control this information, and some question test cannot detect personality according people’s preference and answers.
    For me, I would like to test my result as a reference, but I do not believe this test can provide a true lover. True love cannot be solved by a questionnaire simply. Finding a true lover is serious thing in life time because the true lover can accompany you with your rest life. If you look for appropriate information is very hard because this is from virtual world. I prefer to meet people face to face, sometimes the boy’s tiny expression change and communication style are very interesting. Even some evildoer use this dating to deceive other people, this crime actually is increased in recent years. The questionnaire also brings many advantages; the answer result encourages people to believe that they would found their soul mates in the future. Some shy guys can easily express their minds over the Internet, maybe they can avoid the embarrass when they face with strangers

    Reply
  9. regi

    I do not think that filling out a questionnaire is more likely to work than praying to St. Valentine or than waiting to meet someone when it comes to finding true love. I feel like I have to start by saying that I do know that using a web site to find someone does work. My wife and I had our 7 year anniversary this year and we met on line. Like any marriage it is not always easy but here we are, seven years later. We used a dating site that let you look for people and required no questionnaire so I don’t really know if it would have been different if we used something like eHarmony – would we have been matched, probably not. Our answers would have been very different from each other and we may have been matched with someone else. I think that when you find love you find the right person for you at the right time – and you find them wherever they are; online, on a dating site that asks questions or doesn’t, in a bar, in a church, or in a grocery store. You can answer the questions but when it comes to making that connection with someone else you have to answer them honestly and hope the other person did too. And you still have to take the time to get to know the person face to face.
    Obviously I would use a dating site to meet someone. I don’t know if now I would use a match-making site or not. Like I said before, people can lie on their questionnaire and you could be matched with someone who is not what they say they are – but that can happen anywhere. I think relationships and marriage require a lot of effort and no matter where you meet someone you need to be willing to put that time and effort in. And no matter where you meet someone you need to take the time to sort through the good and bad before you find the “right one”; online or in person.

    Reply
  10. Xinying Du

    This article is really interesting. One of the people said that “to empirically derive a matchmaking algorithm that predicts the relationship of a couple before they ever meet” which is attract people who do not find their love for now. I think this test is mainly on the personality test. If two people have some favorites and same value of life, they can easily to talk to each other. This test is using this kind of questions to figure out if two people in harmony or not. In this article, Harry also said that this test didn’t mean eHarmony had found the secret to matchmaking. So people can treat this test as a reference.
    For me, I may use this test for reference. But I do not believe for this test. There are too many questions on line. Most of them are not true. Most of them are just for fun. If people have different options in the twice tests, they will get two different answers. So I think I will believe in fate. I believe in my eyes to meet the right person.

    Reply
  11. Cameron Pituley

    Filling out a questionnaire is more scientific than praying to St. Valentine. Even if the algorithm produced is not one hundred percent accurate, having some kind of results saying you may relate to this random person better than the next one is still better than nothing. With praying to St. Valentine you accomplish nothing in my opinion. Having a compatibility match and even being introduced to new people you normally would not have is a valuable asset when searching for someone to develop a long term relationship with.
    I personally would not use a match-making site. I feel that match-making sites are a kind of cop out when looking for someone. I place a lot of emphasis on the importance of being able to go out and be social. I think meeting people out at a bar or other kind of gathering is a much better way to meet a potential soul mate. If you meet someone rock climbing or at the gym or during the act of any common activity, I think the benefit of sharing the common pastime is more valuable than a survey saying you are compatible. I do see the value in using a match-making site if you are pressed for time in your daily routine and can’t make it out much to find a partner in the real world. If you need assistance being matched because you have no time to do so yourself, I can see the value and would be able to respect that.

    Reply
  12. Crystal S.

    In my perspective prayer and filling out a questionnaire are two different things. But I would personally not use a match making site to find a soul mate. I mean to me that sounds pretty farfetched that a computer algorithm can find a soul mate for you by answering a few questions about yourself. I know there are a lot of lonely people in this world who want to find a mate, obviously they do use these types of web sites because they wouldn’t be operating if they didn’t. But are these people sane? Or can one question the validity of these web sites or the people who use them? It makes you wonder how people can fall victim to the principles that these web sites preach and they get away with it. Do people really find true love online? I have never heard of anyone finding someone through a web site and been happy forever. I have however read about stories about some women or even men who get duped by some con person and get ripped off or their life savings stolen. They believe this fantasy that they have found their soul mates or they have fallen in love with someone over the internet. This is kind of sad when you really think about it and I find these types of web sites really intrusive. When I am on the net they seem to pop up with advertisements, “meet women here” or even “meet Russian women here” what’s up with that? When you really think about it, it’s funny and maybe even produces a good laugh.

    Reply
  13. Litchi Peng

    I do not think filling out a questionnaire on a Web site is any more scientific than praying to St. Valentine. There is no doubt that some questions can help yourself or others get to know you, but there is a limitation. Sometimes, people do not understand themselves. People are a kind of complicated living beings. They have more than one side and more than one character. Some question test a person’s preference and some answers can reflect some personalities. However, true love cannot be solved by a questionnaire simply. If it does, there will not be more singles. There is another situation that even two persons are totally different and you cannot find any points they match. They still fall in love with each other deeply. Love cannot be explained. However, filling out a questionnaire on a Web site is a good way to know more and more people. This is a good chance to expand their social circles.

    I would not personally use a match-making site. I do not believe I can find the right person in there. Knowing a person on Web site, you can only know what he or she looks like or some their ideas. Those are only information. Finding a right person is serious thing in life time. You are going to find a person who can spend your rest life with. You must be very careful. In other word, some information on Web site, you can not sure if that information is real or not. That is only a virtual world.

    Reply
  14. Liz Martin

    I would say that yes, filling out a questionnaire is more scientific than praying to St.Valentine; at the least I think it’s a lot more pro-active about the situation than praying is. I think that questionnaires can only facilitate the process of meeting people, and that the more people you are able to talk to the more likely you are to get along with one of them. Although this probably hasn’t been the case for every person. The site doesn’t necessarily say that it will guide a person to true love, just that it’ll provide more opportunities to meet people, which is what it does.
    I think the questionnaire is a handy way of creating more opportunities with people who have similar interests. It would be really hard to do this as fast as the site does in real life; imagine how useful it would be if you had a device that told you all the people in your class with whom you’d be likely to get along. It would make it easier to choose group members for projects or approach people to make friends. A down side to this questionnaire is that not all similar people get along, and not all people want their partners to have the same traits and interests as them, so some of the recommendations might be inaccurate. If I were single I don’t think I’d try a dating site. Or maybe I would after I had had a few bad dates. I think it depends on the age of a person though, I feel that as a relatively young person I am privileged with a lot of opportunities to meet new people. If I were older though and had a job, saw the same people everyday, and didn’t have many opportunities to meet new people then I would give it a shot.

    Reply
  15. Ahmed Awad

    In today‘s society, people could attracted toward the scientific theories where perhaps a questionnaire could be more justified rather than praying the St. Valentine. Even thought, I personal don’t think any of the two ways would work but let I’m going to look it from both angles. The “scientific” claims that by filling out a questionnaire, you can find your true love. While this is considered conceptually correct one can argue how it works. Whatever the website, its runs off an algorithm that was developed my real people. In general with algorithm, there is no true 100% working algorithm with accuracy and proficiency of 100 % and when an algorithm is made and developed there will always be a newer version that being made that is better optimized. So for a person to trust an algorithm that he/she would start their life with is very idiotic. The dating algorithm might have a 70-80% “true/success” there is the other 20-30% that is fail. Also people can argue that allowing technology to their personal life is a very uncomfortable solution. On the other hand, nowadays people have different believes, different ideology, different perceptive of life. And by believing in St. Valentines could not be very realistic. I think that if you search for your true life you’ll find it, there is no need for religious believes or scientific questionnaires. If you do your part you get the rewards.

    Reply
  16. Kristina Madarasz

    I think that filling out a web site questionaire on a match making web site can help to get the ball rolling. It allows you to meet people who may share common interests with you in ways you are unable too in real life. It helps you to connect with people you normally couldn’t because for some reason you were always in the wrong places at the wrong times! I think that this is how dating is starting to turn into. It is very hard to meet people these days!

    I have used other dating websites, not one that specifically set me up with someone. Using a dating website is how I met my current boyfriend. It was a good experience and something I would consider doing again. I dont really see how different a match making site would be because at the end of the day it is your choice if you go out with someone on a date. The same rule applies if you met someone in real life in person first, that still doesn’t mean you would go out on a date with them. SO at the end of the day I think the discretion is yours. See who you get matched with and then take it slow and talk to them on the computer, make them call you and see if you can carry on a conversation and then go and meet them in a public place and then a movie. After that, it would be no different than meeting anyone else in your life on a day to day basis.

    Reply
  17. Kai Zhao

    1. In the quest to find true love, is filling out a questionnaire on a Web site is comparably a more scientific idea than praying to St. Valentine. First of all, not everyone believes in St. Valentine, if they do not believe, St. Valentine is not working for these guys. However, filling out a questionnaire on a Web site is like doing a survey, by doing this, other people who surf around this web site may get a chance to actually know you. Based on this survey or questionnaire, people may meet some one have similar interests and personalities fit each other. It is more like a Web site to offer people more chances and opportunities to meet new people and get along each other. Is it reliable? Maybe not, but this is always choices and chances. Therefore, I would say it is a more scientific idea than praying to St. Valentine.
    2. Probably not, I personally do not trust this match-making site thing, neither the information from this site. I prefer to actually meet people face to face, get along with each other and actually know her. Then I would pray for St. Valentine. I just can not trust people from internet, just in case they are some kind of hackers or liars. Each year, there would be many criminal issues and cases happened due to people chatting online and tried to move forward to know each other. Taking these factors into consideration, this online chatting thing is more like a refreshment stuff rather than a tool to find true love.

    Reply
  18. Calvin Chu

    Honestly, are there any teenagers believe that filling out a questionnaire on a website and praying to St Valentine can find you true love. I won’t deny that if they actually work and helped someone before. However, in my common sense, I think they won’t work and they are not reliable. However, if you have to ask which one is better. I will tell you the questionnaire give you a better chance to find true love than pray. Filling the questionnaire is really common in my country, people post information about themselves and hope to find the person who has the same interest. This can be work sometimes but it really depends on your luck. In the opposite, I won’t say praying is meaningless, it might work in some meaning for some people. But, in most case, it won’t work generally. It gives you fake hope and hurt yourself badly when you realize this won’t work.
    I would not use either method to find my true love. I think the best way to do is to wait. Let it go, let it happen. I suggest not to do any extra or stupid thing in the way to find your true love. Sometime it might hurt you badly. What if the information that person wrote is fake. Nobody can tell but only the person who wrote. What will you think when you realize everything is just a lie. In my opinion, I won’t use these methods.

    Reply
  19. Jingyi Wang

    Well I think both the filling out a questionnaire on a Web site and praying to St. Valentine are not reliable, however, filling out a questionnaire on a web site can be somehow helpful when you are looking for the soul mate in your life, because you can at lease know something about that person and find the similar points between you and that person. Praying can never work, it gives you beaituful view and mislead you with the truth, so that you are missing in the unreality world and do not have a chance to actually wake up. But by matching people with the score of the questionnair, it is not accurate enough, because some people may not tell the truth about themsleves, or they are shy to share their secrets or habits with the others.

    I would not personally use the questionnaire to decide the person who I am going to spend life with. Acturally, there are tons of questionnaire of this kind online, and they are welcomed expecially among young people. I have seen someone does believe the results of the questionnaire, and looking for the soul mate according to it. But in my opinion, the soul mate is the person you should feel by using your soul, after really interacting with the real person, can you find the mr. right. You will never know how that peoson is like until you really meet him.

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  20. Tammie Tuccaro

    I do think that if you are comparing questionnaires to match up people based on their similarities then heck yes it is more scientific then praying to St. Valentine. As to whether these relationships will last now that is up to the two people who are matched up based on the answers they provided in the questionnaires. But the matched up couple also needs to want the relationship and are willing to do what it takes to make it work and last. People need to realize that human beings likes and dislikes change over time and especially with age. I know as I get older that there are a lot of things that I would have liked to do in the past and now have no desire to do at all. Plus, if you and your partner aren’t growing together at the somewhat same pace and aren’t on the same page well then of course things won’t work out.

    As for myself, I haven’t had to resort to any type of match making sites, let alone even been on one. I would be too scared to meet some random guy and not know for sure if he is a nice person, or a psychopath. I would rather be set up on a blind date, this way at least someone I know, knows the person they are setting me up with. I think I would use an online dating site if it was a last resort to not be alone lol

    Reply
  21. Sean Annis

    I believe that there is a certain level of compatibility that contributes to the success of a relationship. I believe that praying to st. valentine is of no use, but a dating site based on multiple levels of compatibility has a way better chance of linking you with someone who could potentially become a more serious partner. Whether the algorithm is actually useful for finding the “one” is still up for debate. I know of many relationships where a couple were both very agreeable and had similar interests, yet it didn’t work because of other factors such as where one of them were in their life and the expectations for the relationship. I agree that if one is going to use a dating site for them to be careful and proceed with “eyes open”.

    I would use a dating site forsure. i think that this site pairs people up better than any random interaction or one’s friends ever could. although i would be wary about who i went to meet and i would not totally put my faith in how compatible the site said i was with another person. PEople lie on tests like these all the time trying to come across as the person they’d like to be and not always who they truly are. Regardless i would use one of these sites if i came to a point in my life when i wanted to settle down and did not already have someone in my life.

    Reply
  22. Matthew Malm

    Well in the case that someone is searching for true love, I don’t think a series of subjective questions based on interests is really enough to say that it will or will not match you with a potential mate. Other factors such as social awkwardness, difference in goals, and etc can lead a potential relationship to flop immediately. One practical opportunity is the ability to be matched with people who enjoy the same activities. This could lead to building of friendships and positive social interaction, which may inevitability lead to something greater as well. However, in the context of the question, yes an algorithm based on interests from both parties is a lot more scientific than praying (haha).

    The only reason I would use a website like this is if I was new to a city and was looking for other people who enjoy the same activities as myself. Again, I think the general flow of conversation is impertinent to a relationships success regardless if it is intimate or not. Emotions and body language are not generally available over a questions in a survey. If the potential person you are meeting is extremely shy, it may become frustrating to an eccentric person to constantly be starting conversation. This perceived awkwardness may lead the person to not following up on additional meetings and the relationship to deteriorate. Additionally, I believe that dating sites rely to much on the commitment from both parties to be truly honest about themselves. Realistically, does the average person want to start talking to someone about their addiction or problems? I think it is a pretty unattractive feature to have all of your problems displayed to the public.

    Reply

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