Too much information can be paralyzing. But when it comes to finding a partner, the sheer mass of information and choices that online dating provides may be a positive thing. Previous research has found that married people who met online report more satisfaction with the relationship than those who met elsewhere.

The simple act of defining search criteria and selecting or rejecting matches can reinforce what’s really important in a partner. Users’ detailed questionnaires reveal potentially deal-breaking information up front (Do you want children? Do you own a gun? Do you have herpes?) that could otherwise take weeks or months of conversation to discern.

The advent of the internet hasn’t changed how often we marry or divorce. Rosenfeld doesn’t expect the rise of mobile apps like Tinder or Grindr to substantially change that. The project’s early findings indicate that fears that the flighty, swipe-left culture of mobile communications would undermine real commitment may be baseless.

“The unfounded fears would be consistent with scholarship on a long history of mostly unfounded moral panics, from plane crashes as a leading cause of death, to the supposed epidemic of cyberporn,” Rosenfeld wrote. “Nationally representative data show generally benign impact of technology on our romantic lives.”

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