Dr. Robert Epstein - Author, Editor, And Longtime Psychology Researcher And Professor - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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The False Negative Problem described in this interview is about a matching algorithm delivering LESS high compatible matches (to any prospective dater) than it should be delivering.


Although compatibility, personality and similarity have different meanings for different persons, it is clear that actual online dating sites offering a compatibility matching methods suffer from the False Positive Problem, and not the False Negative Problem as described by Dr. Epstein.


The meaning of personality will depend on how assessed and compatibility & similarity will depend on how mathematically calculated.

All major paid Online Dating sites like eHarmony, PerfectMatch, True, Be2, Parship, Meetic, Chemistry are old, obsolete and have a low effectiveness/efficiency level of their matching algorithms (less than 10%).
There is a range convergence phenomenon between the 3 mains tools online dating sites offer now: Searching by your own, Recommendation Engines and Compatibility Matching Methods based on proprietary ipsative models or the Big5. Any member receives on average 3 to 4 prospective mates as selected / recommended / compatible for dating purposes per 1,000 members screened in the database.

They all 3 are performing the same for serious daters, with a high percentage of False Positives, like gun machines firing flowers.

The questionnaire invented by Dr. Epstein is only an IPSATIVE (self descriptive) instrument.
It is only a recommendation engine based on self reported data and not a compatibility matching method per se.

You can see screenshots in my blog.


Eastwick and Finkel 2008; also Kurzban and Weeden, 2007; Todd, Penke, Fasolo, and Lenton, 2007 found that people often report partner preferences that are not compatible with their choices in real life.


I will respectfully recommend Dr. Epstein to read and see:
--- Chapter 11 of the Book "Strangers in a strange lab: How personality shapes our initial encounters with others" (Oxford University Press, 2009) written by Dr. William Ickes
" .... highly similar couples will probably always have an advantage over the odder, highly dissimilar ones. That doesn't mean that you can't win against long odds, but it does mean that it's a real gamble trying to make things work with a person you're just too different from."
page 26

--- A collection of fresh and new papers clearly showing a connection between personality similarity and marital happiness / dyadic success (stability and satisfaction) for some persons.

Dr. Epstein: "And for a relationship to be successful long-term, you also need to start out with few or no deal breakers – that is, threats to long-term happiness. "

Klohnen & Luo "ASSORTATIVE MATING AND MARITAL QUALITY IN NEWLYWEDS: A COUPLE CENTERED APPROACH", February 2005 at "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology"
"People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them (at least in part) on the basis of this similarity. However, once individuals are in a committed relationship, IT MAY BE PRIMARILY PERSONALITY SIMILARITY THAT INFLUENCES MARITAL HAPPINESS. This suggests that attitude and value similarity may play a different role in relationship development than personality similarity does. For example, whereas similarity in attitudes and values appears to be important early on in the relationship and may play an important role in relationship progression, personality similarity becomes more important as the relationship reaches greater commitment. "

Kenneth Black

Yup I definitely agree that these kinds of matching tools are all marketing gimmicks. In fact, I feel that the only thing these sites do is to increase exposure and allow you to meet more people, increasing the chances that you will find the right person.

Dr. Robert Epstein

With respect: As far as I can tell, Mr. Ardenghi is a self-proclaimed expert on online dating who is actually an electronics engineer with no background in the social or behavioral sciences. His comments don't make much sense to me, and they also don't seem applicable to my new compatibility test (http://AreWeGoodTogether.com). The test simply shows two people - point by point - where their most important relationship needs are and are not met by the other person. It's useful information - the kind that families put on the table when they are negotiating arranged marriages, which I've been studying in multiple cultures for about eight years now. I suggest - again, with respect - that Mr. Ardenghi start his journey of exploration in the social sciences by looking up the word "IPSATIVE." He is using the term incorrectly. Sincerely, /Robert Epstein, Ph.D.

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