Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Raymond Giesler


Most of the literature on online dating addresses what makes a profile more desirable. However, little research has been done examining why someone can be drawn to an adverse profile (i.e. a profile containing clear ’red-flag’ traits). This study will analyze how two types of external influence, recommendations provided by a computer algorithm and consensus information provided by peers, interact to affect judgement in the context of using a dating application to choose hypothetical romantic partners. The romantic experience level of each participant will also be analyzed to see if lack of experience moderates how much individuals rely on external information when choosing hypothetical romantic partners. It was found that participants who viewed positive comments left by other peer users and who were told they are mathematically a good match via computerized algorithm are more likely to overlook red-flag traits when identifying potential romantic partners. These two external influences were chosen because one is social in nature (i.e., consensus information) and the other is non-social (i.e., computer algorithm). Furthermore, participants with higher levels of romantic experience were less likely to choose profiles containing red-flag traits, but this effect only attenuated slightly the impact of the external influences. The findings of this research may provide critical insights into the processes that drive individuals into making poor decisions in the context of mate selection.

Included in

Psychology Commons