The received wisdom about lonely hearts ads is that men advertise their status and wealth, women their looks. It is a simple trade.
More nuanced approaches suggest that successful relationships will depend on similarities of character, interests and ambitions. More prosaically, that men and women will stay together when they do things together, because they like the hobbies and interests they have in common, and work together to build up those common interests.
Emil had collected publically available data about the questions people ask each other when looking for a partner on OK Cupid. We do not know who is talking to whom, or with what outcome, but we have the anonymous questions, which can be linked to the anonymous basic details given by the person. No one’s privacy is being invaded, but we are getting a look at the question American ask each other when looking for love. This is very interesting and informative.
Here is the link to Emil’s website on OK Cupid.
The attached video is Emil’s talk. The subsequent discussion is an illustration of how research gets done.
Also informative is the way that researchers see connections, then test the generality and strength of those connections. You probably know all this, and have better examples, but the exchanges between researchers are, to me, very interesting to listen to.