Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PAPER: The Role Of Linguistic Properties In Online Dating Communication

"The Role Of Linguistic Properties In Online Dating Communication – A Large-Scale Study Of Contact Initiation Messages"

For people who look for a partner, online dating largely increases the pool of potential mates. At the same time, users of online dating platforms have to cope with a large number of approaches and, therefore, need to choose selectively who they decide to engage in a conversation with. Especially, since the costs of rejection are low on online dating platforms, it is a common strategy to spam others with superficial approaches. With this in mind, and in the absence of nonverbal cues, targets base their decision of whether or not to respond to a message on (a) their impression of the sender's pictures, and (b) cues which they extract from the content of the message.
The purpose of this study is to hypothesize on which linguistic properties of a message in computer-mediated communication may signal various qualities of its sender, to predict how those properties determine a target's decision of whether to respond or to ignore an initial message. Employing the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) text analysis, relevant variables are operationalized from a corpus of 167,276 initial messages of an online dating platform. Regression analysis is performed in order to test the hypotheses. Results are discussed with respect to design implications for online dating platforms.

... we review the literature with respect to how the usage of words of particular categories in a message may signal various personality traits and formulate hypotheses on the effects on a target's decision to respond to a message or not.

The tremendous growth of the online dating industry (van Grove 2010) has led to the possibility for people to initiate contact with potential partners at a scale that is unprecedented in human history.
Both females and males are less likely to respond to an initial message if the sender uses more self-references. People seem to associate personality traits (e.g., depressive symptoms; Rude et al. 2004) with such behavior which discourages them to further engage in conversations.
As expected, female targets are more likely to respond to lengthier messages while men are less likely to reply to such messages. This gender difference suggests that men should invest more time to articulate longer messages while women should keep the communication shorter if they want to be more successful in receiving feedback.

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