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"Online dating is one of the most popular ways for single Americans to meet a romantic partner, behind being introduced to someone by a friend or family," Tong says. Slatcher is an associate professor of psychology at Wayne State and Hancock is a professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University.

" Tong says her preliminary results have been somewhat surprising.

"I've been surprised at how much people trust technology for something like romance, which is usually thought of as very serendipitous and a 'just happens' kind of thing," Tong says.

"When it comes to romantic encounters, we're finding people do trust these sites and algorithms a lot to help facilitate that process." Though much of her study is centered around compatibility algorithms, Tong says her team is less focused on the mathematical workings of these systems, and more on people's perceptions of them.

"We're not trying to reverse engineer e Harmony or anything," Tong says.

Now, more than ever, people use technology to help them make decisions.

Which restaurants to eat at, which stores to shop at, and which brands to buy.In 2015, the online referral business is booming and companies like Yelp and Angie's List have created an entire industry based on people’s desire to do their due diligence before making daily social or economic commitments.So it comes as no surprise that more and more people are turning to technology to help them make romantic decisions as well. Stephanie Tong, assistant professor of communication studies at Wayne State, has been studying the association between romantic dating and computer-mediated communication for more than a year.She and her team recently received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation in September to continue her research.The 1,462 grant is the largest in the Department of Communication’s history.Tong has had a long-running interest in online communication and close relationships and says that she wants to know how the relational landscape in American society is being affected by the rise of online dating.


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