Dating kindred spirits

Our focus is the over-50s, as this age group is often overlooked in previous studies.Pawłowski and Dunbar’s (2001) evolutionary psychology study found the five most important categories of words in Lonely Hearts advertisements were attractiveness, resources, commitment, social skills and sexiness.It is important to note that evolutionary theory provides an explanatory framework for understanding patterns of human mate choice and the preferred characteristics in a potential partner from the point of view of reproduction (Dunbar et al 2007: 91).

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In our data, all five of Pawłowski and Dunbar’s categories appear as statistically significant key semantic domains, and we find other statistically significant categories.

Being happy, energetic and enjoying life appear at the top of our list.

Academic research into the language of online dating ads is still scarce.

In Computer-Mediated Communication research, previous analysis of personal pronoun usage (Sherblom 1990; Witt 2004; Walther 2007) has been reported.

This will also permit a comparison with the results obtained via interview-based methods of data collection in previous research such as Pawłowski and Dunbar (2001).

We have collected texts from the online dating classified ads on the uk dating website web-based corpus processing software tool for linguistic analysis in order to compare the language of men looking for women, men looking for men, women looking for women, and women looking for men.

A number of studies in psychology and evolutionary anthropology have identified important personal trait categories (and words associated with them), such as age, physical attractiveness, resources (current or future earning potential), and commitment to the relationship (Bereczkei & Csanaky 1996; Bereczkei et al.

1997; Greenlees & Mc Grew 1994; Wiederman 1993), as well as entertainment and social skills (Miller 1998).

Similarly to Pawłowski and Dunbar’s (2001) study, sexiness is not statistically significant in either of the heterosexual groups, although the sexual relationship category is statistically significant for homosexual men.

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