The most novel thing about this news event is the use of the phrase “new study” and “OKCupid” in the same sentence. Let’s get something straight. The type of “new study” conducted by an outfit called OKCupid is not the type of “new study” normally reported as news. It may be a “study” and it may be “new.” But, lest there be any doubt, it ain’t science.
So here’s what the study found:
According to a new study by OKCupid, men surveyed said they found that woman aged 20 to be the most attractive and interestingly women in their early 20s mainly sought out older men. However, at the age of 29, women started seeking partners who were a similar age and at age 40, they start looking for younger men.
And just to ignore all that and get to the salacious bit…
Men from the age of 20 to 50 prefer women nearly exclusively who are 20 years old, with 24 as the highest age.
So what might this mean? Let’s ask an expert. Or, on the other hand let’s not. Let’s instead ask the guy who conducted the survey:
OKCupid founder Christian Rudder commented on the findings, saying: “Another way to put this focus on youth is that males’ expectations never grow up. A 50-year-old man’s idea of what’s hot is roughly the same as a college kid’s.”
Aaaannnd, cue picture of attractive woman:
Just for the record, the news item doesn’t explain the methodology. I’m guessing it involved a survey, most likely an anonymous one. After all, OKCupid are an online dating service. Maybe they harvested data from users. But that’s still a survey.
So there you go, that’s about all you need in the modern age to frame an interesting news item — call it a study “finding”. Of course it helps if there is a subtext of lechery, what with that mental image of all those older guys drooling over barely post-teen girls.
What will they think of next!
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.
Nothing very surprising about the results, but as you say the people conducting the survey aren’t the leading authority on the subject. Would be interesting to know how many people were part of the survey and from which countries, as there are major differences in ageism in different parts of the world, just my opinion of course.