Melbourne, Feb 4 : Finding a perfect match has now moved beyond astrology and star signs, for Oxford University academics have developed an exact scientific formula that will be put to use by the website eHarmony.com.au to find the most compatible match for a person.
This dating service uses the patented Compatibility Matching System to find appropriate partners for its members based on their psychological profiles. The website will soon be launched in Australia.
This project is one of the biggest of its kind and involves the study of over more than 700 Australian married couples to develop a country-specific matchmaking formula.
In order to have a first date sanctioned, prospective couples should be matched on "29 key dimensions" such as emotional temperament, social style, intelligence and spiritual beliefs.
According to eHarmony psychologist Dr Galen Buckwalter, the successful criteria guarantees that the couples will have almost an 80 per cent probability of being among the upper 25 per cent of happiest long-term relationships.
To get the psychological profile, new members are made to undergo a rigorous assessment that includes 256 questions to determine their personality type, beliefs and values. Then their psychological profiles are processed in a matching system to find potential matches for a successful long-term relationship.
"What we see constantly is that, in general, similarities are much more preferable for long-term relationship satisfaction. It's not like you are looking for your clone but it does seem that if your basic personality is fairly similar, you have a much better chance of understanding each other emotionally. Some of the formulas we are using in Australia are unique but we don't reveal the secret sauce _ it's a competitive business," said Dr Buckwalter, head of eHarmony's research and development.
He pointed out emotional reactivity, or how quickly a person responds with an emotion, and socialising habits as crucial factors in finding a good match. However, he ruled out the belief that opposites attract, claiming that this may be true for first glances but not long-term relationships. "Opposites attract but then they attack. If you are different in fundamental traits, you seem to spend a lot of emotional energy working out differences," he said.