New Research Study raises questions about the scientific validity of some matchmaking sites.

A research paper Kippen,%20Rebecca_paper.pdf based on looking at  2482 marriages and what breaks them apart raises some serious questions about the scientific validity behind some of the major matchmakers.

In a recent interview Galen Buckwalter, chief scientist at eHarmony.com said “Age, in and of itself, is not a factor in compatibility.”

In actual fact,  age is one of the biggest factors in what ends the marriages according to the study.

If either person smokes  than it close to triples the chances of ending the marriage.   ( Eharmony matches smokers to non smokers they also list a few other things that tend to lead to divorce.)

The same goes for drinking….

There are many other examples in that report based on 30 years of research into what creates unstable marriages.    To date no site has wanted to submit their tests to scientific validation  and even those that do  are only showing  10 -20%  better than chance of marriages forming,     But you can get that kind of improvement by simply matching non smokers with non smokers and people with people in their age range.

18 Responses to “New Research Study raises questions about the scientific validity of some matchmaking sites.”

  1. Temi Says:

    I suppose matching a compatible couple is one thing and making a marriage work is another thing. There are loads of other factors that contributes to a relationship working that are outside of stuff you would consider when courting.
    So called scientific evidence are also quite biased most of the time, the sponsored of a research tends to influence it so that the outcome they prefer is what the research reaches. A valid and respected research would be one conducted by perhaps and academic institution who has not agenda in the outcome of the findings.

  2. halfinger Says:

    “To date no site has wanted to submit their tests to scientific validation”

    OK

    “and even those that do are only showing 10 -20% better…”

    Which is it?

  3. connectedthought Says:

    Are we really suprised by this? As temi states there are too many variables that will determine the success of a marriage – little of which can be determined by some computer algorithm. The reason why these matchmaking services are a draw to punters is because the way online dating works makes it very difficult to determine who might be compatible – so any filtering service is better than none. Surely the key factor early on is if people are compatible in terms of their personality and if there is some chemistry there. Finding this out on most dating sites is very hard which is why smeetme.com took the direction we chose.

  4. markus Says:

    my test is only 20% better than chance….. But its not validated and niether is any other sites test,.

  5. Curious Says:

    Hey markus, I’m curious. Is Plenty Of Fish your only successful website, or do you have others?

    You don’t have to list them if you do, I’m just wondering, because I think I remember you saying a while back that you were working on other stuff and you knew the model to success could be repeated and not just with dating sites. It’d be really interesting to know if you did. So is plenty of fish your only website money maker?

    A simple ‘yes it is’ or ‘no it is not’ would suffice.

  6. Dan Says:

    my test is only 20% better than chance….. But its not validated and niether is any other sites test.

  7. Eric w/Propadoo.com - Customer Testimonials Management Software Says:

    markus, I’m so please to see that you made a post about the scientific validity of matchmaking! I just have to tell you about a study by John Gottman. He currently holds the world record for marriage prediction accuracy achieving 94% accuracy 4 years out. And it only takes him 3 minutes with a couple for him to make his predictions. I find this utterly amazing because when you think about all the things that can go wrong in a marriage – external uncontrollable factors such as money problems, affairs, health issues, mental issues, # of children disagreements, etc. – you would think that no one could possibly be that accurate. If someone is that accurate and they’re ignoring all those things then those things must not really be the root cause of a marriage failing.

    In the 80′s he set up a “love lab” and had couples come into this apartment for weekends where they were observed the with audio recorders, video cameras, electrodes on skin to detect stress, heart rate monitors, etc. They encoded every interaction between the couples even going so far as to frame by frame record the muscle movements (FACS – facial action coding system or something like that) in their faces to detect emotions. This was very detailed laborious stuff.

    They tracked these couples over ten years and shortly into the study after inputting all their variables into a computer they started to see what was correlated with couples getting divorced.

    The single greatest predictor was a positive to negative ratio of interactions. The interactions could be words, touches, facial expressions, notes, not returning a “bid for connection,” bids for connections, etc. I can’t really get into it here but there are lots of things one wouldn’t think were negative or one wouldn’t notice normally but that they notice because they’re recording these interactions and looking at them frame by frame.

    There were also what he calls “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” which I won’t get into here.

    Having read both Gottman’s work and the research paper on this blog post I think the question is which is causality and which is correlation? For example the study says that if the husband’s parents are separated that is a predictor of divorce. Does that mean that the husband’s parent try to get their son divorced and succeed or does it mean that children learn a tremendous amount by watching their parents and if their parents were behaving in such a way that it led to divorce that child would either have an increased chance of doing the same things that cause a marriage to fail or would fail to learn the things that cause a marriage to succeed. In short, the husband’s parents being divorced is correlation but not cause of a marriage failing.

    On the other hand Gottman’s work has been used in counseling troubled marriages and has twice the success rate in turning the marriages around as the next best counseling approach in existence.

    As a side note – I believe Gottman’s work is scientific and peer reviewed so it isn’t just some guy making this stuff up.

    Gottman’s book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Why-Marriages-Succeed-Fail-Yours/dp/0684802414/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257699147&sr=8-1

    Gottman’s 94% accuracy and Murray’s 80%-85% accuracy
    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/11/science/to-predict-divorce-ask-125-questions.html

    94% Accuracy Using Gottman’s Techniques
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/professor-has-formula-to-predict-divorce/story-fn3dxity-1225697163518

    Paper on Marriage Prediction
    http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/conf/hildaconf2009/Papers/Session%202C/Kippen,%20Rebecca_paper.pdf

    Paper on Marriage Stability
    http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:YoniHSRuQRwJ:secure.ncfr.com/pdf/sourcebook/deollos.pdf+%22marriage+prediction%22+gottman&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj7VUJJP4fUmzoXYZrXXQ5RINsURhg_UAkKGM16jtmwrJzlJoOLgEDLf4cf5rL7ySNWVKbOx9Ua_eaufgDaLgXeaa8_B6wRQ_KlmkY6j-KWO-j4p30OF5oQWvvkiBZd1hcD_xkL&sig=AFQjCNHzzllzk6Ec_GrA9GK7nORxIhyGZA

    Email me if you like this post or want more info.

  8. Gwenda Cianci Says:

    Since splitting from my longterm husband nearly a year ago I have been a member dating sites and enjoying having the time of my life.

  9. Fish Killer Says:

    Hey Marcus what are you doing about the serial killer on your fish site that has been killing women. How is it that its not all over the place yet. Your system sucks and it can not stay free forever. You will be forced to charge a fee to stop these maniacs from killing again. I recommend a paid service. Marcus is only init for the money the ads provide for him. I have met marcus in person years back and he really needs to do something before he finds himself in a bad place.

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