Academics at the University of Michigan have just published a study into the online behaviour of 1,855 people who signed up to a dating website in the New York/New Jersey area.

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Their methodology was as follows: “We present a general strategy for estimating discrete choice models that can identify both slopes and knots for continuous attributes, and also allow for multiple decision stages (ie browsing and writing) and multiple observations per stage (ie multiple instances of browsing and writing for each user).”And so say all of us.

Their snappily-titled paper Extracting Multistage Screening Rules from Online Dating Activity Data contains such pithy observations as: “We then use a combination of stochastic- and gradient-based methods to iterate between estimating the two-stage, latent class models for a given set of knots, and exploring the space of possible knots.” So it goes on for 35 pages of the most magnificent academic verbiage.

The researchers from Queensland University of Technology analyzed hundreds of thousands of online dating interactions from the Australian dating site RSVP, involving 41,000 individuals during a four-month period last year.

The participants ranged in age from 18 to 80 years old.

A great diversity of online dating services currently exists.

Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.

Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.

Once a profile has been created, members can view the profiles of other members of the service, using the visible profile information to decide whether or not to initiate contact.

But, as that highly educated cohort ages, they care less about how much schooling a potential mate obtained.

Less educated daters show the opposite trend: they tend to care more about connecting with those of the same education level as they get older.

There are 40 million Americans using online dating websites and those users range from young to old.