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Have you ever used an Internet dating site?
The mistletoe may be tucked away for another year, but Valentine's Day tchotchkes already are overflowing on store shelves. And in these weeks between Christmas day and Cupid's night, Internet dating sites reportedly see a surge in traffic.
Social psychologists say that's true now more than ever. In years past, people were more skeptical about putting personal information online and didn't know which sites to trust. Has that changed? Social networking sites are a daily, if not hourly, habit for millions of Americans. So why not put your Facebook profile on OkCupid, too?
Plus, sites such as eHarmony and Match.com have been advertising long enough that their brand name recognition adds to a sense of trust for singletons. Nevertheless, does this increasing popularity correlate to their effectiveness? If the Internet made shopping for books and music easier, can it simplify match-making, too?
Does e-dating still have stigma in your social circles? What is the right way and the wrong way to find love in cyberspace?
Benjamin Karney, Ph. D., Professor of Social Psychology at UCLA, studying marriage and intimate relationship. Karney just contributed to a review of Internet dating for the journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
Thomas Bradbury, Ph. D., Professor of Psychology at UCLA, studying marriage; Member, Scientific Advisory Board, eHarmony.