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"The science is absolutely solid." He suspects that deal breakers are more important at the early stage of mate selection when people are winnowing down a pool of candidates."I expect positive selection to kick in at a later stage of the search," he says.Or is it more like a -style reality show, where contestants are picked off one by one for a single failing?When it comes to the early stage of dating, it seems to be all about the deal breakers.Are you carefully weighing every factor that makes someone a good romantic match?Not according to a study of more than 1 million interactions on a dating website published this week in the .Smoking was another big deal breaker, associated with a 10-fold drop in interest.But the biggest deal breaker of all turned out to be age, at least for women.

But beyond someone's looks, how much do any of these factors matter for mate selection?

And because most dating sites ask users to give consent for their data to be used for research purposes, this online courting has played out like an enormous social science experiment, recording people's moment-by-moment interactions and judgments.

A team led by Elizabeth Bruch, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, tapped into this torrent of dating data.

One complication is that online daters are not making just one decision, but several in a series: First, people are swiping their way through profiles and deciding which to dismiss immediately or browse more closely.

Then comes the choice to send a person a message, or to reply to one.

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