Evolutionary biologist Justin Garcia -- scientific adviser for the international online dating site Match.com and faculty member at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute and Department of Gender Studies -- was a principal investigator for Match.com's annual Singles in America study, involving subjects from a nationally representative survey and not drawn from the dating site.
An additional survey of 1,000 Match.com clients found 82 percent reported the holidays make people feel more romantic than other times of the year but a quarter of respondents reported experiencing a break-up during the holiday season.
Garcia -- drawing data from both surveys -- said mid-December through mid-February is considered a peak period for online dating, with many singles grilled by friends and family about their solitary status.
"This is unique to humans," Garcia said in a statement. "No other animals on the planet are so involved with the mating habits of kin as humans are.
"The holidays can be a really stressful time in terms of trying to start new relationships and also getting out of previous relationships," Garcia said. "If we think of what happens with many Americans this time of year, we're traveling, we're spending more money, we're often getting to see family and friends. As much as this can bring a lot of joy and excitement, it can also bring a lot of stress. This combination can be tricky to navigate."
The research indicated the Internet trumps bars as a place for men and women to meet. More than a quarter of singles reported they had dated someone they met online and 20 percent met their most recent first date online, while 7 percent said they met at a bar.
No survey details were provided.