Study Reveals A Surprising Reason You May Be Passed Over On Tinder

  • Sunday, July 10 2016 @ 07:05 am
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Millions of singles using dating services each day, searching through a stream of faces in hopes of finding a mate. Pictures have always been an important part of the online dating process, but with the rise of simple, image-centric mobile apps like Tinder, photographs are more important than ever.

New online dating research reveals a secret side to swiping. According to the study, potential dates may be evaluating you based not on your profile, but on the profile they saw before yours.


"From an evolutionary perspective, attractiveness is a key social characteristic that determines how approachable or desirable we are. Perceived attractiveness is determined not only by our own attributes but by the attractiveness of people around us," says the study.

Here’s how that relates to your luck on Tinder. If your profile comes after an attractive person’s profile, you appear more attractive as a result and are more likely to score a left swipe. The opposite is also true: if an unattractive face comes before yours, you’re more likely to get a rejection.

Over two experiments, 32 women were shown 60 male profile pictures and asked to rate them as either attractive or unattractive. The images varied in composition, face size, clothing, and background cues. Researchers presumed that all the pictures were intended to attract female attention as they were sourced from heterosexual sections of dating sites.

Each participant looked at a computer screen that presented the profile photos. After about 300ms, they were asked to rate the image as attractive or unattractive. At the end of the experiments, the researchers concluded that profile pictures were significantly more likely to be deemed attractive if the picture in the previous profile was rated as attractive.

"While online dating is popular, and is certainly an efficient (and anonymous) way to sort through potential mates from the comfort of one's own home,” concludes the study, “it may not be quite as reliable as it seems given the recent evidence for sequential dependencies when judging rapid sequences of faces."

As you sort through a string of faces, evaluating each one in the few seconds it takes to swipe, you could be affected by this phenomenon - in which case, your final choice of desirable mate might be one face too late. Is this the start of songs about love at second sight?

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports and can be read in full here.To find out more about the dating app you can read our Tinder reviews.