CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Easwar Nyshadham

Committee Member

Amon B. Seagull

Committee Member

Gerry Van Loon

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine whether a three-category (3C) system for classifying profiles on online dating sites provides advantages over a two-category (2C) system as decision makers evaluate a long list of profiles. Two groups of single heterosexual or bisexual women ages 20 to 30 reviewed a list of 60 male profiles on simulated online dating sites to choose which profiled man they would most like to learn more about. One group (n = 53) evaluated the profiles using a 2C system; the other group (n = 56) used a 3C system. After making their choice, women in each group took a researcher-developed survey to measure the degree to which they were preference constructors, their cognitive difficulty in making their choice, and their satisfaction with the decision process and with their final choice. It was hypothesized that women in the 3C compared to the 2C condition would have (a) less cognitive difficulty making their decision and (b) greater satisfaction with the decision process and with their final choice, and that (c) being more of a preference constructor would increase any relationship found between the 3C condition and decreasing cognitive difficulty.

Survey data were analyzed by t-test, ANOVA, and MANOVA procedures. These tests revealed none of the statistically significant differences between groups that were hypothesized. In particular, the decision task’s cognitive difficulty did not differ between groups even when a variable for preference construction was taken into account. Also, there were no significant differences in satisfaction with the decision process or satisfaction with final choice between the two groups using different categorization systems. The study’s three hypotheses were therefore rejected. Reasons for these results and implications of the study are discussed, and recommendations are made.

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