In Online Dating, Beauty Is in The Profile

Nov 16, 2011 2:40pm

Women are able to spot less-attractive men just by their online profiles without even looking at their pictures, a new study finds.

Researchers at Villanova University in Philadelphia asked 50 college-aged women to study the profiles of 100 men ages 22 to 25 who posted on a popular dating website. Divided into groups, the women were asked to rate the men’s photos and profiles separately, indicating how attractive they found each potential mate overall, for a date, for a short-term sexual encounter, and for a long-term relationship. Researchers also asked the women to rate the men’s confidence, masculinity and other traits they could glean from the photos or the profiles.

The results didn’t bode well for the less-attractive suitors. Researchers found the women were able to pick out the most physically attractive men based only on the profiles they wrote.

The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

The results suggest that “those who are physically attractive also write more appealing profiles,” wrote lead researcher Rebecca Brand in the study. “In this sense, online dating does not seem to level the playing field for unattractive individuals.”

The key to the attractive profiles seemed to be confidence, Brand said. The men who women selected as the most physically attractive also seemed to express the most confidence in their profile writing.  Not hard to imagine, since previous studies have shown that attractive people are more likely to be treated well, make more money, and other factors that could give them a better opinion of themselves.

But less-attractive men shouldn’t lose hope. “Perhaps the Iinternet could level the playing field for less-attractive individuals if only their profiles display confidence (real or manufactured),” Brand noted.

Good tips to keep in mind, considering the bustling popularity of online dating. Some researchers estimate that nearly 25 percent of U.S. couples who met between 2007 and 2009 met online.

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