Dating as a science project

Lin hopes that other dating sites will release similar data, because website design could play a bit part in how people make decisions.

For example, says Lin, "Tinder doesn't allow users to search, and emphasizes the photos much more than [personal] attributes, which might reduce the deal breaker effects." Then again, perhaps that simply shifts the deal breakers to a person's appearance instead.

They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.

And of course, the final, crucial decision, which isn't captured by these data: whether to meet the person in the real world.

Bruch's team devised a statistical model that maps the "decision rules" people follow during the first two steps.

Smoking was another big deal breaker, associated with a 10-fold drop in interest.

But the biggest deal breaker of all turned out to be age, at least for women.

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