Psychology research on online dating
Most people end up with someone who’s about as good-looking as they are.“People might prefer attractive people, but they often end up pairing off with people who are similar in attractiveness,” Leslie Zebrowitz, a psychology professor at Brandeis University and an expert on face perception, said.
“You might shoot for the moon, but you take what you can get.”Twenty years ago, Christina Bloom was in a committed relationship when she met someone who “knocked me off my heels.” The two embarked on a fiery romance, during which she noticed that friends and strangers were always telling them they looked alike.
Edward Royzman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, asks me to list four qualities on a piece of paper: physical attractiveness, income, kindness, and fidelity.
Then he gives me 200 virtual “date points” that I’m to distribute among the four traits.
She points out a few other tips in her “Tinder glossary:” “Most players reflexively swipe left [reject] at the sight of a toddler or baby,” but posing with your adorable Lab can be an “effective misdirection.” And then there’s the iron law that “95 percent of players who choose a calling card that does not include a clear shot of their face are unattractive.”It’s not the first time in history that a face plays such an important role in one’s fate.
Physiognomy, or the bogus theory that we can predict a person’s character from their features, was once a widespread doctrine.
Hockey players with wider faces, considered a sign of aggression, spend more time in the penalty box.
It takes longer, more meaningful interactions, however, to pinpoint other traits, like if the prospective mate is open, agreeable, or neurotic.
“What tends to matter for females is that the overall package is good," meaning that women might accept a less-attractive mate if he was outstanding in some other way.
Here, then, is how to date online like a social scientist.
Tinder offers a one-sentence tagline and a selection of five photos, including the all-important first photo, or “calling card,” as the writer Amanda Lewis put it.
Rather than attempting to hitch people for life based on a complex array of intrinsic qualities, why not just offer daters a gaggle of visually appealing admirers?
Recent research has examined what makes people desire each other digitally, as well as whether our first impressions of online photos ultimately matter.