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"Online, this might result in males restricting their potential mates.”is two decades old, but new, fast-growing apps such as Tinder have shifted the online-matching emphasis back to looks.Tinder dispenses with the idea that it takes a mutual love of pho or Fleet Foxes to create a spark; instead, users of the phone app swipe through the photos of potential mates and message the ones they like.Grindr serves up a mosaic of gay bachelors’ head and body shots.There are also a raft of appearance-based spin-off sites, such as Facemate, a service that aims to match people who look physically similar and thus, the company’s founder claims, are more likely to have chemistry.Most people end up with someone who’s about as good-looking as they are.“People might prefer attractive people, but they often end up pairing off with people who are similar in attractiveness,” Leslie Zebrowitz, a psychology professor at Brandeis University and an expert on face perception, said.“You might shoot for the moon, but you take what you can get.”Twenty years ago, Christina Bloom was in a committed relationship when she met someone who “knocked me off my heels.” The two embarked on a fiery romance, during which she noticed that friends and strangers were always telling them they looked alike.Here, then, is how to date online like a social scientist.Tinder offers a one-sentence tagline and a selection of five photos, including the all-important first photo, or “calling card,” as the writer Amanda Lewis put it.

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It takes longer, more meaningful interactions, however, to pinpoint other traits, like if the prospective mate is open, agreeable, or neurotic.

Edward Royzman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, asks me to list four qualities on a piece of paper: physical attractiveness, income, kindness, and fidelity.

Then he gives me 200 virtual “date points” that I’m to distribute among the four traits.

She launched Face Mate in 2011, drawing on her opinion that people in happy relationships tend to resemble each other.

The site matches the photos of its users based on their faces’ bone structure using face-scanning techniques and a computer algorithm.

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