Allegedly 89 out of Fortune 100 companies, along with 200 US federal agencies including the CIA, State Department and the military administer Myers-Briggs test to better train their employees. A combination of excellent marketing from CPP and the feel-good, vague enough descriptions of the types (known as the Forer effect, also occurring in astrology and fortune telling) explains its continuing popularity in business.
Indeed, accurately evaluating an individual is a hard business, especially if one chooses the Myers-Briggs like True. And that’s just one part of the story. Even under the assumption you can perfectly describe an individual in terms of personality, then assessing compatibility is a different, arguably even more complex story, as more variables come into play. The scientific backing of compatibility should therefore be even stronger.
Super Crunchers Critique
Ayres has simplified the case to make it understandable for the general public reading this book, most of them likely have limited “Super Crunching” or data science experience. In general, the simplification that Ayres made is a fair one. Not mentioning the exact procedure as described in part 4.1 of this article, the summary of the eHarmony patent, is a good choice to prevent this book extending over 1000 pages.
We think that he is missing an important point here, people do not get matched on compatibility, they get matched on “relationship satisfaction”, how satisfied they are in any relationship
Interesting is that he fails to mention the construction of factors out of all the variables resulting from the survey filled out by candidates for the program. In the patent eHarmony describes the method of principal component analysis (PCA), it seems quite important for the reader to understand that the matches by eHarmony are not made just using “29 emotional, social, and cognitive attributes” but are made by compiling way more variables, i.e. answers to survey questions, into 29 (very abstract) emotional, social and cognitive factors.
Also interesting is the fact that Ayres mentioned predicting couple compatibility. It is then assumed by eHarmony, and in this case Ayres, that this means that people are compatible.
This brings us to a more significant problem, as Houran, Lange & Rentfrow (2004) claim, eHarmony’s scientific basis is “not referenced in detail and a copy of the full analyses and results are neither posted for customers nor otherwise offered to the public for evaluation”. Later Houran, Lange & Rentfrow (2004) expand their claims by stating that the paper that is also mentioned in Super Crunchers, Carter & Snow (2004), is questionable in its experimental design and used statistical techniques . An example of this as mentioned in Houran, Lange & Rentfrow (2004), the results of the study by Carter & Snow (2004) indicated that eHarmony does not match on similarity as the data suggests eHarmony couples are more dissimilar than the control group. Ayres mentions that this study has its deficiencies but to us it goes over too quickly and waves it away as good intentions while it might be a way to deceive eHarmony customers.
Maneuvering in this field of research is difficult however, as there are several online matchmakers that publish their own research supporting their own claims. The paper by Houran, Lange & Rentfrow (2004) is http://www.besthookupwebsites.org/cs/freesnapmilfs-recenze/ based on research conducted by True and Houran and Rentfrow both work for True. This shows that every claim by these papers should be considered with a skeptical mindset and we believe in general Ian Ayres managed to give the reader a relatively objective and accurate insight into the online matchmaking Super Crunching competition.