It is also collecting data electronically through a free “relationship tune-up” feature at eHarmony/labs
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He was researching cognitive aging and Alzheimer's disease at the University of Southern California when he was approached in 1997 by Neil Clark Warren, a former couples counselor and self-help author who wanted to use scientific data to match people in romantic relationships.
“He had been a therapist for many years. and the primary topic that was not being addressed was selection,” Buckwalter said.
The two men designed the first National Study of Marriages, upon which they based eHarmony's Compatibility Matching System. The site has 14 million registered users in 250 countries.
eHarmony claims that couples matched through its service enjoy higher marital satisfaction than the general public. Now the company plans to use its methods to develop new products for conventionally matched couples.
The studies at eHarmony Lab, which will be overseen by scientists from U.S. universities, will be shared with the global research community. The labs consist of four observation rooms with state-of-the art video equipment that allow researchers to monitor facial expressions, body language, voice tone and other information.
Science may not be able to discover what causes the heart to pound and the palms to sweat whenever that certain someone is near, but eHarmony Labs hope to put a little more love into the world through science.
“We never want to take away from the pure magic of a relationship,” Buckwalter said. “We're just encouraging people to take a few steps to prepare.”
The Web dating service, best known for matching couples through psychological testing, has opened a research facility to collect data about what draws people to each other -- sometimes disastrously -- and what holds them together through the demands of marriage and children
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