Chances are, you haven't used eHarmony or match.com to find a significant other...at least, not yet.
Some online dating sites have users take "personality assessments" in order to find potential partners rather than browsing for people themselves.
eHarmony makes users take a 258-question personality assessment and uses those results to find potential partners. Chemistry.com uses algorithms to "match people on 29 'core traits,' like social style or emotional temperament, and 'vital attributes' like relationship skills".
But does it work? Does using "secret" algorithms and personality tests really work? Can these methods really help you find The One?
eHarmony has the data and resources to conduct cutting-edge research--from its fees and well-known success. But the company has yet to prove that its methods work. "It has started a longitudinal study comparing eHarmony couples with a control group, and Dr. Buckwalter says it is committed to publishing peer-reviewed research, but not the details of its algorithm."
Obviously, not publishing their secrets allow for much scientific criticism. What other factors contribute to the success? Or hinder it? What kind of personality test is used? How do they factor in error--such as people lying in order to match with "better" partners?
And what exactly is in those algorithms? Researchers know that their findings can't be taken seriously if they aren't released and peer reviewed. It's important to take the findings lightly. Chemistry.com was even under fire for running ads saying that they've discovered the "new science of attraction."
Researchers working with eHarmony have found one thing, though. "Researchers who studied online dating found that the customers typically ended up going out with fewer than 1 percent of the people whose profiles they studied, and that those dates often ended up being huge letdowns."
There really is no easy way to find love.