“Attraction for a particular person may be difficult or impossible to predict before two people have actually met,” said Samantha Joel, a University of Utah psychology professor and lead author“A relationship is more than the sum of its parts.There is a shared experience that happens when you meet someone that can’t be predicted beforehand.” The study, “Is Romantic Desire Predictable? Still, most Americans, according to the Pew Research Center, still want to get married at some point in their lives. The Census reported in 2011 that 51 percent of adult Americans were married—an all-time low and falling, while the median age for marriage hit an all-time high (29 for men and 27 for women).
Afterward, the participants rated their interactions, indicating level of interest in and sexual attraction to each person they met.Joel and her colleagues used a cutting-edge machine learning algorithm to test whether it was possible to predict unique romantic desire based on participants’ questionnaire responses and before the individuals met. They found it was possible to predict the overall tendency for someone to like and to be liked by others — but not which two particular people were a match.“We found we cannot anticipate how much individuals will uniquely desire each other in a speed-dating context with any meaningful level of accuracy,” Joel said.“I thought that out of more than 100 predictors, we would be able to predict at least some portion of the variance.I didn’t expect we would find zero.” It would be great if people were able to circumvent the hassle and heartache of the dating process by entering information into a computer and having it produce the perfect soul mate, Joel said.
That modern-day matchmaker, the Internet—both through its traditional channels and the explosion of online dating sites—is where a third of recently-married American couples first started sparking.