After seeing each trait, subjects would indicate whether that trait also described them.
The first trait had a negative amplifying effect, the scientists found.
Though it’s nowhere near an in-person encounter, Norton said you can get a feel for whether the person is funny or a good listener.
“People also will use their avatars to flirt so you can go a little closer or a little farther away,” Norton said.
“Because people so much want to find somebody, we find that they read into the profile.
They kind of see that person as a good match for them, and that they have a lot in common,” Norton told .
Match tips Norton and his colleagues are developing ways for online daters to stay grounded in reality as they navigate the virtual world of romance.
In one study, Frost, the MIT researcher, designed an online interface in which people meet for “virtual dates.” For instance, you and a prospective date would each play an avatar and wander through an art gallery together.
“On online dates, women are much, much more disappointed than men," Norton said.Participants gave much lower ratings to potential dates and also perceived less similarity with them when they were shown greater, rather than fewer, numbers of traits.The results are detailed in the January issue of the .More evidence Two additional experiments backed up this finding.In one, scientists asked each of 190 students to complete a Web-based survey in which they were shown 10 traits, one at a time.