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09.08.2022 | יב אב התשפב

Tu B’Av – The Jewish Day of Love

From Tu B’Av lore of girls dancing in the vineyards to stories about dating in the army or on campus, it seems that lovers share a common milieu and a lot of luck


Today you don’t have to depend on luck – there’s the internet. Dr. Tali Gazit, an expert on internet psychology at Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Information Science, explains how the virtual world has changed the rules of the dating game, making disappointment an inseparable part of the game (but that’s not a reason to give up on optimism).

Studies show that on the internet, just as in life, appearance is the entrance ticket. The “halo effect”, a concept from social and cognitive psychology, relates to the bias that makes us to think that a beautiful person is also necessarily good. This is a preconceived notion that occurs among both men and women, but a statistical analysis conducted by OKCupid, one of the largest dating sites in the world, shows a difference between the sexes: women prefer muscular men who are photographed with pets; while men prefer women in selfies, and less so the puppy that appears in the picture.

There are also biases in the text that we write on dating sites: the “primacy effect”, coined by the theorist Solomon Asch, proves that what we remember better are the details that appear at the beginning and less those appearing at the end. We can use this bias to our advantage by mentioning our positive qualities first and leave the less flattering ones for the end. On the other hand, when we read someone else’s text, we should pay attention to the entire description, right to the end.

After the virtual stage, comes the face-to-face meeting. A study that examined the amount of information that we have about the other person versus the level of affection for him/her found a negative connection between the two and recommends: expect disappointment! In the virtual world we lack a great deal of vital information – even if we glean a large part of it from social networks, which provide a much more complex picture than the calling card of dating sites, not to mention apps like Tinder. We are not exposed to facial expressions, to body gestures, to smell, to “chemistry”. In their absence, we let our imagination – which always surpasses reality – fill the gaps.

Most likely, the information that you will receive in a face-to-face encounter will be less favorable than you expected, and you will initially feel a sense of disappointment. That’s why you should prepare yourself, lower your expectations and don’t let your imaginations run wild, be aware of the information gaps, be open and patient, and don’t despair.

The love of your life is there. You just must look carefully for it  – if not online, then maybe in the vineyard or in the supermarket.