Truth online dating
But online, you see, it takes it to a whole new level, because the online world is of course virtual, meaning you can do or say anything—you can be anyone, and people quickly discover that when they are trying to do some online courting and unfortunately it gets way out of hand and people have investigated this a number of different ways so far; and I did my own bit of research, collected some new data for this article, and it is pretty frightening actually because the deception can get crazy.
Well, the reality is—and this has been confirmed by some of the top people in the field of psychology—the reality is no one knows how to do that with a test.
No one knows how to give you a test and then use that test to find someone who you will get along with; and certainly no one knows how to find your soul mate with sort of a psychological test.
So, how does online dating stack up on those fronts?
Epstein: Well, this is an area which unfortunately is very disturbing right now because some of the big companies out there are making money by saying hey, we have a test—we have a test that will allow us to find not just someone you have found, but that will allow us to find your soul mate.
And this brings—lead[s] to—what is called the false negative problem.
In the world of dating, that's a serious problem that means that you're going to make mistakes every now and then by saying this person is not right for you.
The test tells you nothing about that—and that's absolutely critical.
Also, you know, in the real world we often are attracted to people who are not like us.
Epstein: Well, probably because I was doing some online dating. Then I learned that there were researchers—people like me—doing legitimate research on online dating. First of all, do we know how many people are engaged in online dating in this country? If you take the numbers that are released by the big online dating companies, of course, you are going to get a highly inflated figure that would suggest 50 or 60 million or more.
How did you get so interested in this subject, first of all?
So, pretty much everything you can think of—in fact one study suggests that about 90 percent of the people online lie about something—that's a big number.