Why Your Online Dating Photo May Be Too Hot for Your Own Good

PHOTO: Are you to attractive to trust? A new online dating photo study tries to answer the question.Getty Images
Are you to attractive to trust? A new online dating photo study tries to answer the question.

Consider this next time you're agonizing over the perfect photo for your online dating profile: you might be "too hot to trust."

Researchers at the University of Connecticut conducted an experiment to determine how people judged each other based on their online dating profile photos. They presented 671 volunteers with a single photo that was either casual or enhanced and of a man or a woman. Researchers reported that men were less likely to trust women who posted an "enhanced" photo with good angles, good lighting and make-up.

But that didn't stop the men wanting to date those women anyway, said lead study author Rory McGloin, a communications professor at UConn.

"They thought she was more attractive, they wanted to go on a date with her ... but they didn't trust her," McGloin said.

On the flip side, women found men with enhanced photos to be more trustworthy, according to their findings, which is set to be presented at the International Communication Association annual conference later this month.

"Attractiveness of the male served as a halo," McGloin said. "Once they found him to be attractive, they assumed all of the other traits were good as well."

McGloin isn't a psychologist, but he studies how media affects behavior. The students who participated in the study were first-year communications students who were participating for credit. Their mean age was 19, and the age range was 17 to 36 years old, McGloin said.

He noted that his experiment eliminated "relative" attractiveness by only presenting each person with one photo and asking them a series of questions about it. However, he said it wasn't a field study and the participants were "fearless" because their actions had no consequences.