Dating site profiles may be too hot to trust, a study has determined. People who spend hours trying to find the perfect photo and describe themselves in the perfect way may put themselves at a disadvantage. The issue has been found with photos more than any other aspect of the profile.
The University of Connecticut underwent a study to see how people were judged on their online dating profiles, based on their photos. Researchers studied 671 volunteers, who all had a single photo that was either casual or enhanced. Men and women were involved in the study to get an idea as to whether it only involves people of one gender. The enhancements could just be the use of good lighting or angles, or may have involved makeup. Men were found to be less trusting when the images were “enhanced” in women, although it would not stop them from wanting to date the women.
Rory McGloin, lead study author and communications professor, found that the men found the enhanced photos made a woman more attractive. They would want to date that woman, but would not necessarily trust her. That could lead to problems later on in the relationship.
The issue of trust also came up with women when looking at enhanced dating photos of men. However, it was the opposite to the issues men have. Women were found to trust a man more if his photos were enhanced. McGloin explained that the attractiveness became a halo, and an attractive man must have other good traits.
In the end, the study found that it is possible to make dating site profiles too hot to trust. However, it is worth pointing out that the age range of the volunteers was 17 to 36 years, with a mean age of 19. The volunteers were first-year communications students, all participating to get extra credit.
There were some limitations to the study, and McGloin said that it eliminated “relative” attractiveness. A person was presented with just one photo and then several questions about it were asked. One of the biggest limitations was that the students were “fearless.” They knew that there would be no consequences to their actions, and were more likely to give their honest opinions. It may have been different if outside volunteers were used.
This study was completed to assess trust in a relationship. It is a vital part, and McGloin said that it builds the social bonds within the dating field. He did admit that finding that men wanted to date someone they were less likely to trust meant that they were ready to take chances on a relationship. He also found that attractiveness was more important than trust when it came to men choosing who to date.
Online dating is no longer the taboo subject that it once was, but there are clearly still some risks. Enhancing photos is still common, even if it is just picking the best lighting. However, this is expected by some, especially men. Enhancing does not necessarily mean a man will not date someone, but the dating site profile pictures may make someone too hot to trust fully.
By Alexandria Ingham