Speed dating or video interaction is much more effective than photos in an online profile when someone's looking for love, some experts have concluded.
University of Texas evolutionary psychology researchers Lucy Hunt and Paul Eastwick found that prospective mates might easily dismiss a photo, but get "an authentic picture" from speed dating and video, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The research expands upon their theory that less attractive people do not have fewer options. Hunt and Eastwick place less emphasis than many of their peers on "mate value," which says a person's dating success depends largely on how desirable he or she is to the general population.
Mate value does matter, the researchers say. But how a person rates potential mates can vary greatly from how society in general rates them. And the longer two people know each other, the more likely they are to rate each other differently than everyone else.
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While at Northwestern University, they put together a speed-dating pool of 187 students, roughly split evenly between men and women. Those students also took photos, like those found on online dating sites. Recently, Eastwick and Hunt had students at other schools rate those photos.
Those rating the photos tended to project what they wanted to see, while video and in-person interactions elicited a more varied response.
Eastwick said he suspects photos yield such different responses because human brains evolved to pick mates in a face-to-face situation. Hunt says their research shows video and face-to-face interactions led to "a much higher likelihood of hitting it off."