A new book based on relationship data reveals much about how people interact and build relationships with each other, but one segment from the book's first chapter is generating a lot of controversy, Discovery News reported on Sept. 12.
This is how the author describes an important piece of data regarding how men view women:
"From the time you're 22 you'll be less hot than a 20-year-old, based on this data," Christian Rudder said at a recent talk. "So that's just a thing."
The information for the book, entitled "Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)," was culled from the dating site OkCupid that Rudder co-founded. It revealed that men as old as 50 find women between the ages of 20 to 24 most attractive.
But the book's data on how women view men differed substantially: Up to age 39, women are attracted to men who are just about one year younger than they are. Even at age 50, 46-year-old men are looking good to women.
Rudder also noted that these preferences don't necessarily mean all 50-year-old men are courting women who were in high school just a few short years ago.
"This is just measuring people's opinions, not what they actually go out and do," he said.
But Rudder did defend that collecting mass data is a good thing, as everything in the book about people's behavior is aggregated and anonymous. But when it's all put together, a reader is able to look at people act in a new and different way.
"It's the beginning of, I think, a revolution in how social science and behavioral science are done," Rudder told NPR.