The dating jungle: how men and women see each other when online dating

Posted on May 29, 2015

In the world of online dating, nothing is as it seems. But that doesn’t stop many of us from leaping to the wrong conclusions about people. A recent paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association and reported on in the press suggested that when evaluating photographs from online dating profiles, men and women judge enhanced and un-enhanced photos somewhat differently.

Enhanced photos, those in which a person has used makeup, hair styling, filters, or post-editing, were rated by both men and women as more being attractive. But while women also rated men in these photos as more trustworthy than in ordinary photos, the opposite was true of women: men rated women in enhanced photos as less trustworthy.

According to evolutionary theory, men who have cheap, disposable gametes can maximise their reproductive success by pursuing multiple partners. Women, on the other hand, have to invest much more time in the gestation and rearing of offspring. As a consequence of our biology, the theory goes, women seek loyal partners who can provide resources for them and the potential child. Men, however, value physical attractiveness in a female because good looks (for example, facial symmetry or youthfulness) are the manifestation of healthy genes and serve as signs of fertility.

This added emphasis on the value of physical attractiveness in the eyes of men may explain why they would put less trust in the women in the enhanced photos. Because attractiveness is important, but is masked in enhanced photographs, men ultimately have less desire to date those women. Ratings of attractiveness predicted desire to date, but perceived trustworthiness was also a significant predictor of desire to date.

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Category(s):Relationships & Marriage

Source material from The Conversation


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