In the online dating world, a profile picture is an important aspect in showing the world who you are. Including a profile picture in your online dating profile is a necessity. It allows people to know if they find you physically attractive and can lead other users to explore the content of your profile. As they get to know the real you, they gauge the possibility of pursuing something more. Not only do you have to include a picture, but it should be a good profile picture. You should include pictures that are realistic representations of your current self, not ones that have been photoshopped or your outdated high school senior portraits. Given that including an accurate picture is important in your online dating profile, what kind of pictures should you include?
A recent study (Tracy & Beall, 2011) looked at the gender differences in ratings of attractiveness of four different emotion expressions. They had participants rate the attractiveness of images of the opposite sex that displayed happiness (smiling broadly), pride (head tilted up, expanded chest, and arms raised above head in fists), shame (head tilted down and narrowing chest), or a neutral look.
They found men and women differed in what they found most attractive. Women were most attracted to men displaying pride, and least attracted to those displaying happiness. Men were found to be most attracted to women displaying happiness, and least attracted to women displaying pride. The researchers explain these findings in terms of evolutionary and gender-norm principles. Women are most attracted to a man displaying pride because pride can be associated with higher levels of masculinity, which in turn show a man’s ability to provide and care for his family. Previous research has shown happiness is associated with low dominance and femininity, which can explain why men are attracted to women displaying happiness most. It can also be thought of as indicating receptivity, in that she may also be interested and pursuing this woman may actually lead to a deeper relationship.
Before you start searching your facebook page for new pictures or thinking of where you last left your camera, keep this in mind: although including pictures like the ones mentioned above will increase your initial attractiveness, it really comes down to what’s on your profile that will push someone to communicate with you. So having a full and good profile is more important to meeting someone than just a change of the picture. But according to this latest research, changing your picture to one displaying pride and confidence for men and happiness for women could be more inviting to other users who will further browse the content of your profile, and in turn increase your chances of finding that special someone in your life. Now where is that camera?
Tracy, J., & Beall, A. (2011). Happy guys finish last: The impact of emotion expressions on sexual attraction. Emotion, 2011.