Love in the Time of Algorithms

Online Dating Isn’t Just Netting You Weird Sexts, It Could Be Making Us More Politically Polarized

Maybe stop turning down guys in I <3 Ron Paul shirts. Or not.
(Photo: brightlightsmycity.com)

(Photo: brightlightsmycity.com)

Dating sites like OKCupid let you find people whose interests, morals and life outlook are directly aligned with your own. This is probably a good thing for the health of your relationship–who wants to argue about what religion to raise your kids, for example?–but could actually be detrimental to society overall.

According to a new study in the academic journal¬†Political Behavior, spotted by¬†Pacific Standard, marrying someone with similar political ideologies can both increase your chance of becoming more extreme in those opinions and the chance of having kids who hold the exact same set of extreme beliefs. A lack of exposure to opposing views basically allows you to exist in a vacuum, both of you trumping up each other’s theories without hearing the reasoning of the other side.

The chances of people continuing to pick mates with similar political stances are pretty good, though daters aren’t doing this on purpose; instead, the study found that other factors like lifestyle and demographics are highly correlated with political beliefs. This means liberals aren’t consciously seeking out other liberals, but just so happen to land with them based on what they want in a partner.

So if you’re a liberal hoping to change political discourse in society, maybe let yourself fall in love with somebody with an NRA membership–you know, for the good of the country.

Haha nah jk.

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