Kindred spirits online dating
Robin Dunbar was involved in a series of evolutionary psychology investigations of different categories of words in Lonely Hearts advertisements (Waynforth & Dunbar 1995; Pawłowski & Dunbar 1999a; Pawłowski & Dunbar 1999b; Pawłowski & Dunbar 2001) where it was reported that men and women attached different levels of importance to the following five categories in online ads: attractiveness, resources, commitment, social skills and sexiness.
Pawłowski and Dunbar (2001) sampled only advertisers aged between 18-29, describing themselves as students or graduates and seeking heterosexual relationships.
Our study also includes same-sex relationships that were not examined in Pawłowski and Dunbar (2001).
A number of studies in psychology and evolutionary anthropology have identified important personal trait categories (and words associated with them), such as age, physical attractiveness, resources (current or future earning potential), and commitment to the relationship (Bereczkei & Csanaky 1996; Bereczkei et al.
1997; Greenlees & Mc Grew 1994; Wiederman 1993), as well as entertainment and social skills (Miller 1998).
Table 1 exemplifies the traits associated with these categories, based on the investigations conducted by Dunbar and his colleagues.
The types of words coded for the categories of attractiveness, resources and commitment (to be precise, physical attractiveness, wealth/status and family commitment) were given in Waynforth and Dunbar (1995).The category of social skills (with the focus on traits that “allow individuals to keep a relationship going even during difficult times, at least part of which entails the ability to keep a mate entertained”) was exemplified in Pawłowski and Dunbar (1999b: 55), and was also explained in Dunbar et al (2007: 77) as being considerate, having a sense of humour and being a good listener.The category of sexiness was added in Pawłowski and Dunbar’s (2001) without exemplification.It is important to note that evolutionary theory provides an explanatory framework for understanding patterns of human mate choice and the preferred characteristics in a potential partner from the point of view of reproduction (Dunbar et al 2007: 91).However our study is not strictly comparable, because we focus on people over 50 years of age, therefore reproduction may not be on their minds, even subconsciously, when they decide to place an online dating advertisement.This will also permit a comparison with the results obtained via interview-based methods of data collection in previous research such as Pawłowski and Dunbar (2001).Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating