WOMEN

Online Dating As Scientific Research

11/14/2011 06:00 am ET | Updated Jan 14, 2012

THERE are millions of Americans seeking love on the Internet. Little do they know that teams of scientists are eagerly watching them trying to find it.

Like contemporary Margaret Meads, these scholars have gathered data from dating sites like Match.com, OkCupid and Yahoo! Personals to study attraction, trust, deception -- even the role of race and politics in prospective romance.

They have observed, for instance, that many daters would rather admit to being fat than liberal or conservative, that white people are reluctant to date outside their race and that there are ways to detect liars. Such findings spring from attempts to answer a broader question that has bedeviled humanity since Adam and Eve: how and why do people fall in love?

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