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Whether it’s where I’m eating, where I’m traveling or, God forbid, something I’m buying, like a lot of people in my generation—those in their 20s and 30s—I feel compelled to do a ton of research to make sure I’m getting every option and then making the best choice.

If this mentality pervades our decision­making in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?

In addition, former e Harmony researcher Gian Gonzaga is one of the five co-authors."It's a very impressive study," says social psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

"But it was paid for by somebody with a horse in the race and conducted by an organization that might have an incentive to tell this story."Does this study suggest that meeting online is a compelling way to meet a partner who is a good marriage prospect for you? But it's "premature to conclude that online dating is better than offline dating."The findings about greater happiness in online couples "are tiny effects," says Finkel,whose research published last year found "no compelling evidence" to support dating website claims that their algorithms work better than other ways of pairing romantic partners.

Findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put the percentage of married couples that now meet online at almost 35% -- which gives what may be the first broad look at the overall percentage of new marriages that result from meeting online.

About 45% of couples met on dating sites; the rest met on online social networks, chat rooms, instant messaging or other online forums.

Finkel says the overall percentage of marriages in the survey is "on the high end of what I would have anticipated."Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., says the numbers seem "reasonable."He says his own research, published last year in the American Sociological Review, found 22% of newly formed couples had met online, "but couples who meet online are more likely to progress to marriage than couples who meet in other ways." He says his new analysis of nationally representative data found that of 926 unmarried couples followed from 2009 to 2011, those who met online were twice as likely to marry as those who met offline.

Although Rosenfeld says the paper is a "serious and interesting paper" and "Cacioppo is a serious scholar with a big reputation," he is concerned that "the use of an Internet survey which leaves non-Internet households out might bias the results."Harris Interactive says the results have been weighted to correct for potential bias in its online surveys.

It’s not just my ­generation—boomers are as likely as college kids to give online dating a whirl.

Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.

Where Bozos Are Studs Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket.

10 in., has brown hair, lives in Brooklyn, is a member of the Baha’i faith and loves the music of Naughty by Nature.

Before online dating, this would have been a fruitless quest, but now, at any time of the day, no matter where you are, you are just a few screens away from sending a message to your very specific dream man. Throughout all our interviews—and in research on the subject—this is a consistent finding: in online dating, women get a ton more attention than men.

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