Friday, March 21, 2008

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing

I'm fascinated by the e-Harmony commercials on TV--those people seem so happy now that they've found their soul mate. They're smiling and laughing and dancing and you're smiling too and thinking, "Aw, look at them. They're so cute!"

Then, after you've seen the same commercial two or three hundred times, it sinks in that some of those smiles seem just a little strained. A few of those "happy" people look a little uncomfortable, the mask slipping just a tiny bit. One person in the couple will be gushing about their partner and the partner will be giving the impression that said gushing isn't entirely mutual.

The part I'm really intrigued about is the "compatibility test" that is responsible for bringing these people together. I'm tempted to go on the site, take the test and "review my matches for free" just out of curiosity--not because I'm unhappy in my relationship, but because I'm wondering what kind of person e-Harmony thinks would be compatible with me. And we're not talking just any kind of compatibility, we're talking "deep compatibility" coupled with "intense physical attraction."

I'll never do it though, because I think the whole thing is a load of crap. What's at work here is the law of averages--provide people with enough opportunities to meet other people and eventually they will connect with someone. What determines a positive outcome isn't some pseudo-psychological "compatibility test" but how many other people fall for the pitch and become members of the site. The larger the pool from which to draw, the more likely you'll find that special someone. The matches could be completely random and I believe the success rate would be roughly the same.

Still, it is intriguing...


Mindy said...

I think we all have a soul mate.. you'll eventually find that person... E-Harmony or no E-Harmony.

psychsarah said...

I am also fascinated by the e-harmony concept. The psych geek in me wants to know the psychometric properties of the compatibility test and if they validated it (and if so, how?)

A friend of mine told me that she has seen job ads from e-harmony looking for psychologists who's research specializes in couples to work for them, which gives it an aura of scientific validity... Still, the inner cynic in me prevails.

Thankfully I'll never have to partake of one of these services, since I have already found my one and only.