I think I like you: Spontaneous and deliberate evaluations of potential romantic partners in an online dating context



The present research examined processes of impression formation within an online dating context. Across two studies, female participants formed impressions of a potential partner based on an online dating profile containing information about the target's facial attractiveness and self-described ambition. Afterwards, deliberate evaluations of the target were assessed with a self-report measure and spontaneous evaluations were measured with an affective priming task. The results showed that deliberate evaluations varied as a function of both self-described ambition and facial attractiveness. In contrast, spontaneous evaluations varied only as a function of facial attractiveness. Experiment 2 further showed that these effects were independent of the order in which the two types of information had been encoded. The results are discussed in terms of associative and propositional processes, and the conditions under which these processes can lead to conflicting evaluations of the same potential romantic partner. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.