According to a press release issued by the IIIT-H, 15 couples of heterosexual university students between the ages of 18 and 23 were selected for the study.
“In the first phase of the experiment, we manually emulated the matchmaking process of online dating apps like Tinder by sending out preference forms to both male and female participants,” said Tejaswini Yeleswarapu, the first author of the study.
For the first three days, the couples interacted only over the hugely popular chat-based app Tinder. On the fourth day, they were made to interact over a customized platform RecRoom, a VR game. The VR environment was set out to replicate a ‘real’ romantic setting complete with comfortable couches, ping pong table and a dart board, a dimly-lit bar area, stage for karaoke and so on.
Once the VR experience was complete, a detailed interview lasting 75-90 minutes long was conducted with the couples to compare various parameters of both the mediums.
The study found that 28 of the 30 respondents felt that VR allowed them to make an informed decision on whether to meet in real-life. “The same partner who was found unworthy after a chat on Tinder was labelled as potential date material after the VR meet and vice-versa,” said Tejaswini.