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Why flattering pics don't help ugly date seekers

Ugly people are not successful when it comes to online dating, even after they disguise their worst features and post the most flattering photos, a new study has suggested.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2012 14:08 IST

Ugly people are not successful when it comes to online dating, even after they disguise their worst features and post the most flattering photos, a new study has suggested.

The study by Villanova University in Philadelphia, revealed that good-looking men were able to convey their confidence and attractiveness in their written self-description – and that women volunteers were able to identify their beauty without being shown the lonely heart’s accompanying photograph, the Daily Mail reported.

For the study, 50 female students were asked to examine profiles of 100 men, aged 22-25 years who had posted on a popular dating website. The men were divided into four sets of 25 with each of the female rating one subset of 25 photos and a different subset of 25 profile texts. This procedure made it impossible for a target man’s photo to influence his text ratings, and vice versa.

For the photos, participants were asked how physically attractive they found the man (overall), and how attractive they found him for a date, a short-term sexual encounter, and long-term committed relationship.

For the profile texts, participants were asked how attractive the man seemed for the above-mentioned categories. They were also asked to rate each candidate on how kind, confident, intelligent, funny or humorous he seemed from his profile.

“The overall attractiveness of the photo was positively correlated with the overall attractiveness of the text. In other words, those who are physically attractive also write more appealing profiles,” said Rebecca Brand a psychologist who led the study.

“In this sense, online dating does not seem to level the playing field for unattractive individuals.” “Our data suggests that attractive individuals wrote texts (profiles) that conveyed confidence, and it was perhaps this confidence which primarily signalled quality to the women,” Brand added.

The associate professor also said that such confidence may arise from attractive people’s general sense of their high mate-value. The paper has been published in the Computers In Human Behavior journal.