If a picture is worth a thousand words, a single person’s dating app profile photo is practically priceless.
In today’s app-saturated culture, where everyone is looking for love at first swipe, dating is a visuals game dictated by split-second impulses based on the most trivial of details.
It’s not just the obvious things that are under scrutiny - such as your dashing smile or your sartorial flair - as one study has revealed posture plays a crucial role in a person's likelihood to be left or right-swiped on an app.
According to a team of researchers at Princeton University, New Jersey, people are more likely to be successful on dating apps if they adopt expansive postures in their photos i.e. their arms are facing outward rather than folded or their legs are apart rather than crossed.
The study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, claims that these postures indicate traits such as openness and dominance, which are typically perceived as attractive.
“We have seen it within the animal world, that taking on extra space and maximising presence inside a physical space can be used as signal for attracting a mate,” explains lead author Dr Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk.
“By applying dominance they are attempting to signal to some potential mate ‘I can do things, I’ve got a space within this hierarchy, I get access to sources.’”
For the experiment, researchers created two different dating app profiles for the same person, one of which was fronted by an image of that person adopting a hunched-over stance while the other featured them posing in an expansive posture.
The latter profile was almost twice as likely to be successful, they concluded.
Researchers also tested their theory in real life at a speed dating event, after analysing video recordings from the event, they found that singletons also doubled their chances of being selected for subsequent dates adopting expansive postures.
“These findings indicate that in modern-day dating contexts, in which initial attraction often is determined by a rapid decision following a brief interaction or seeing a photograph, displays of expansive posture increase one’s chances of initial romantic success,” the authors wrote.
"Our research suggests that a nonverbal dominance display increases a person’s chances of being selected as a potential mate.
"Expansiveness makes the dating candidate appear more dominant.”
So, get up, stand up (maybe unfold your arms) and you might just land yourself a date.
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