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Improving Online Dating with Virtual Dates

Jeana Frost, Michael Norton and Dan Ariely

(Submission #65)


Online dating, a practice where singles visit a website to locate other singles, frequently fails to meet users’ expectations. We suggest that this disappointment is due in part to online dating websites’ failure to simulate face-to-face interactions, an essential component of the acquaintanceship process. We document users’ general disappointment with online dating (Study 1) and their disappointment with specific dates arranged through an online dating website (Study 2). In Study 3 we introduce the Virtual Date, on which potential dating partners explore a virtual environment in an interaction analogous to a real first date (such as going to a museum), a pre-meeting intervention that led to greater liking after meetings had occurred (during speed-dates) than standard online dating.

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