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How To WIN At Online Dating | Earth Lab

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When we published my video on 'how to find the perfect partner using optimal stopping theory" we realised that you Headsqueezers, just like everyone else, need a bit of help and advicewhen you're looking for love But unlike anyone else, you guys also want clever, smart, scientific and rational advice

So let me be your maths-matchmaker and tell you how to win at online dating You might have heard recently about Chris McKinlay, the mathematician who totally gamed the system, and wrote a computer program which was capable of tricking OkCupid into thinking it was human All Chris dod then was set off the computer program to collect data on literally thousands of women on the site All with one question — what was it that the women who Chris was after, what was it that they were interested in And once he'd collected that data, all Chris had to do was create a new dating profile that made him look as attractive as possible to all of his potential partners

Now it took him almost a yea to set it up, but in doing so Chris changed his potential matches from just 100 to almost 10,000 and at the peak his page was getting visits from up to 400 women a day Conclusive proof if ever it were needed that maths seriously impresses the ladies Now Ok Cupid, I think, is a particularly interesting example, not least because it was founded by a group of mathematicians And because they're mathematicians, the founders have been collecting data for almost a decade on how we interact with one another, and how we speak about ourselves on an internet dating site

And they've come up with some seriously interesting results For starters, it turns out that iphone users do have more sex (or at least they say they do) Also, skinny women feel a lot better about themselves than curvy women when they're in their early twenties, but this changes over about the age of 30, when curvy women overtake skinny women in the self confidence stakes and never look back But for me my favourite finding from the group that founded OK Cupid is that it turns out that how good looking you are does not dictate how popular you are on an online dating website — and actually, having people think you're ugly can work to your advantage In one of the thankfully voluntary sections of Ok Cupid, you can rate how good looking you think people are between 1 and 5

Now if we compare this average score that people achieve on this rating to how many messages they got, you can begin to get an idea of how good looking you are effects how popular you are on an online dating website Now the first thing to notice is that it's definitely not true that good-looking people get more messages Maybe there's a little bit of a trend here, but to be honest it's got an r squared of naff all So the big question arises is what is it that's different about the people up here compared to the people down there And it turns out that it's not about how good looking you are — it's about how much you divide opinion

Let me give you an example If you take Holly Willoughby — everyone agrees that Holly Willghouby is a very beautiful woman No one thinks that she's ugly, but she's not a supermodel either But compare her to somebody like Sarah Jessica Parker Where a lot of people — myself included, think that she is absolutely fabulous, and one of the most beautiful creatures to have ever walked the earth

But a lot of other people, ie most of the internet, seems to think she looks like a horse Now if you were asked to rate Holly Wollgoughby and Sarah Jessica Parker on this 1 to 5 scale, I reckon they would average out to have roughly the same score, but the way that people vote would be very different Holly's votes would be clustered around the number four, whereas for Sarah, you'd get a lot of ones and a lot of fives

And it's this spread, that fact that Sarah divides opinion, that would make her popular on an internet dating website This spread is the thing that's important, and you're much better of dividing opinion in this way than just being beautiful, like sombody like Holly So if some people think that you're beautiful, you're better off having other people think that you're a massive minger That's much better than having everybody think that you're just the cute girl next door Now this begins to make a bit of sense if you start introducing a juicy bit of game theory

Because the people who are sending these messages are perhaps thinking about their own chances Let's say that somebody thinks you're very attractive, but suspects that other people might not be that interested It means that they're going to have less competition, and an extra incentive to get in touch But if they think someone's attractive but suspects that everybody else will as well, why would they bother humiliating themselves But here is the really interesting part

Because most people when they set up an online dating profile pictures, they try and hide the things that they think makes them unattractive The classic example is people who think they are a little bit overweight chosing a photo which only shows their face, or perhaps bald men only choosing photos where they're wearing hats But actually, this is the opposite of what you should do, you should totally play up to whatever makes you different –even if you think that some people might find it unattractive The fact is is that the people who fancy you are going to fancy you regardless And the unimportant losers who don't– well, they only play up to your advantage Now, If you can think of any other everyday, practical problems that we can help with then let us know in the comments section below

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