A new edition of Scientific American Mind has been published and, as is customary, two of their feature articles are online, each on a different end of the human attraction spectrum.
The first looks at online dating and how the psychology of relationships is altered by perusing your potential partners on a website.
One of the most significant differences stems from how the internet allows people to have quite a fine-grained control over how they present themselves online – even to the point where being ‘economical with the truth’ is a fairly standard tactic.
For men, the major areas of deception are educational level, income, height, age and marital status; at least 13 percent of online male suitors are thought to be married. For women, the major areas of deception are weight, physical appearance and age. All of the relevant research shows the importance of physical appearance for both sexes, and online daters interpret the absence of photos negatively. According to one recent survey, men’s profiles without photos draw one fourth the response of those with photos, and women’s profiles without photos draw only one sixth the response of those with photos.
The second article examines the psychology and treatment of paedophilia – sexual attraction to children.
Often paedophiles are described as ‘evil’ by the media, as if this was an explanation rather than a label that describes the gravity of their acts.
Knowing how best to protect children, through both the legal and medical system, need a deeper understanding. The SciAmMind article looks both at current theories and how they’re applied in practice.
Link to article on online dating.
Link to article on paedophilia.