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I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life. I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.With men being taller on average compared to women, you might expect that most women would end up with taller men just by chance.However, researchers found that of the 720 couples in their study, only one was comprised of a taller woman and a shorter man (Gillis & Avis, 1980).The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

Instead, the results indicate that you are probably looking for "deal breakers," harshly eliminating those who do not live up to your standards. People met their romantic partners through the recommendations of friends, family, or even at real-world locations known as "bars." Whatever signals and decisions led people to couple up were lost to science. According to the Pew Research Center, 5% of Americans in a committed romantic relationship say they met their partner through an online dating site.

When you’re online dating, why do you swipe left on one person and swipe right on another?

Are you carefully weighing every factor that makes someone a good romantic match?

Those 30 million people have generated billions of pieces of data.

And because most dating sites ask users to give consent for their data to be used for research purposes, this online courting has played out like an enormous social science experiment, recording people's moment-by-moment interactions and judgments.