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Algorithms, and not friends and family, are now the go-to matchmaker for people looking for love, Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld has found.
In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rosenfeld found that heterosexual couples are more likely to meet a romantic partner online than through personal contacts and connections. Since 1940, traditional ways of meeting partners—through family, in church and in the neighborhood—have all been in decline, Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld - Author - Research - Professor - Sociology
Rosenfeld, a lead author on the research and a professor of sociology in the School of Humanities and Sciences, drew on a nationally representative 2017 survey of American adults and found that about 39 percent of heterosexual couples reported meeting their partner online, compared to 22 percent in 2009. Sonia Hausen, a graduate student in sociology, was a co-author of the paper and contributed to the research.
Rosenfeld has studied mating and dating as well as the internet's effect on society for two decades.
Stanford - News - Service - Rosenfeld - Research
Stanford News Service interviewed Rosenfeld about his research.
What's the main takeaway from your research on online dating?
Online - Meeting - Friends - People - Technology
Meeting a significant other online has replaced meeting through friends. People trust the new dating technology more and more, and the stigma of meeting online seems to have worn off.
In 2009, when I last researched how people find their significant others, most people were still using a friend as an intermediary to meet their partners. Back then, if people used online websites, they still turned to friends for help setting up their profile page. Friends also helped screen potential romantic interests.
What were you surprised to find?
I was surprised at how much online dating has displaced the help of friends in meeting a romantic partner. Our previous thinking was that the role of friends in dating would never be displaced. But it seems like online dating is displacing it....
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