OkCupid Conducts Experiment on Users, and Other News

Woman listening to music looks at laptopIn the wake of a backlash against Facebook’s recently revealed experiment on users, popular dating site OkCupid has released the results of its own experiment on site members. The site was unapologetic about the experiment, posting on its blog, “…if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.”

The OkCupid research was actually three separate experiments that evaluated how manipulating user data could change people’s dating preferences. In the first experiment, users who were actually bad matches were told they were good matches. These users became more likely to contact one another as a result of the lie.

In a second study, OkCupid removed pictures for the day. Although user traffic went down, users who remained on the site responded more frequently to messages and talked longer. When pictures came back, though, users stopped responding if they didn’t like their conversation partner’s picture.

A third experiment was based on previous research that showed that users ranked the personalities and looks of other users similarly, suggesting that people on the site base their personality rankings on appearance. The site removed profile text and then asked users to rank the profile owner’s looks and personality. The site found that personality and appearance rankings were roughly similar even when there was no profile available to help users evaluate personalities.

Why Seven Hours of Sleep Might Be Better Than Eight

Sleep experts typically recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but recent studies show that Americans sleep less now than they did in previous generations. Experts may change their recommendations in light of data that shows that too much sleep is actually more harmful than too little. One recent study of over a million people found those who slept between 6.5 and 7.4 hours had the lowest mortality and morbidity rates.

Suicide’s Toll: Survey Says Half of Vets Know Someone Who’s Tried It

A survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has found that nearly half know a veteran who has attempted suicide, and 40% know a veteran who’s successfully killed himself or herself. In addition, 53% of respondents experienced a mental health condition, but 27% weren’t seeking mental health care. 

Lawmakers Reach Deal on a Fix for VA’s Health Care System

The U.S. Senate and House have reached a deal to remedy the The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. Details of the legislation package aren’t available yet, but the legislation likely includes provisions allowing veterans to seek private care when they face long wait times. The legislation, which will likely cost billions, will also probably contain funding to hire more medical providers at the VA.

Exercising Helps Depressed Smokers Quit

People with depression are twice as likely to smoke as those without depression. The anxiety, low self-esteem, and restlessness of depression can make quitting harder. New research, however, suggests that even a minimal fitness routine can reduce the stress of quitting, even when the exercise routine doesn’t yield improvements in the depression.

‘The Higher the Cigarette Taxes, the Lower the Suicide Rates’

Suicide rates are higher among smokers, though no one knows why. A new study that evaluated the National Center for Health Statistics’ data from 1994 to 2004, though, has found that smoking taxes can decrease suicide prevalence. In states that enacted aggressive anti-smoking campaigns, suicide rates were lower, and the suicide rate saw a significant decline in states that enacted high cigarette taxes.

Teen Insomnia Linked With Depression, Anxiety

About 11% of teens aged 13 to 16 experience insomnia at some point, and this insomnia may increase their risk of mental health challenges. A study of 300 Australian high school students found that those who struggle with sleep are also more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The Psychology of Clutter

An overflowing closet could reveal more about your personality than you might think. In many cases, a cluttered closet is the product of cognitive distortions, such as the belief that holding on to something you never use will ensure you’re prepared for everything. Some people hold on to old, ill-fitting clothes, for example, because they hope they might eventually lose weight. When clutter is extreme, though, it can signal attention deficit or hoarding.

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  • Greg

    Greg

    August 1st, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    I totally agree with this OKCupid site.
    If you don’t want to leave that electronic footprint then you have to go offline, plain and simple. There is no other way to get around it and even then it is likely that you are still being tracked with one thing or another. This is how business works these days and while it might feel just a little uncomfortable you ahev to know that to win us over business has been doing these things in a different way.
    So the tactics feel a little more invasive to us today, I will give you that. But what are you willing to give up to get back some of that privacy? I would be willing to be not as much as in reality you would probably have to.

  • Glenn

    Glenn

    August 2nd, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    I am all for improving the VA and passing new laws that pertain to that improvement but why does simply passing new laws have to cost so much money?

  • danielle

    danielle

    August 2nd, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    sorry but there can seriously be no such thing as too much sleep!

  • Cooper H

    Cooper H

    August 4th, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    I think that there will be lots of research coming out now and in the future that will point to regular exercise as a remedy for many things that hurt us as humans. It is certainly never going to hurt us unless you take it a bit too far, but for the most part there is nothing that will make you feel better in the long term and help you to get both physically and mentally sharp and strong in the same way that exercise will do for you.

    It is not always the easiest thing to work into your schedule and some will dread the thought of even trying it, but I promise that after you do it enough then it will become a habit and it will be a hard one to break on thsoe days when you have to.

  • tonia

    tonia

    August 5th, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    any ideas on the cigarette tax/ suicide rate correlation?

    Nicotine causes suicidal thoughts?

    therefore if we raise the cost of smokes then no one can afford them anymore and we then see the decrease in the suicide rates?

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