Online Dating Pictures Reveal Clues On What People Really Want

If you ever wondered why you were very attracted to one person’s picture as opposed to another (the attractiveness quotient being equal), it’s probably due to the subtle hints given off by their photo.

Looking at a photograph can not only tell you whether you might find a person sexually attractive, but gives clues about their attitudes towards love and romance.  People who are looking for a casual fling or short term affair give off subtle clues about their intentions through their facial expressions that may be picked up on consciously or subconsciously.

Durham University conducted a research study about taking the dating game at face value and found that people’s intentions could be accurately judged by looking at their photographs.

Durham conducted a study on 700 heterosexual participants and found that it is true that opposites attract.  The young men and women in the survey looked for complete opposites in the opposite sex.

Generally, men were more interested in women that they perceived to be open to short term sexual relationships.  Women in the study showed a preference to men who had the potential for a long term relationship.

The young men and women who participated in the survey looked at photographs of the faces of the opposite sex and were asked to judge their attractiveness and attitudes, based upon facial expressions.  They were asked to choose which person would be most open to one night stands, short term sexual relationships and loveless sex. They were also asked which people were most attractive for long and short term relationships.

The people whose pictures were being viewed had previously filled out a detailed questionnaire about their sexual behaviors and attitudes. All of the people in the photographs were in their early 20’s.

Researchers compared the questionnaires to the judgments made about the people in them and found that 72 percent of the people could accurately judge their attitudes over half the time. Even though they judged accurately more often than not, they were not always confident about their opinion.

Additionally, the researchers found that men usually found women who were open to short term sexual relationships more attractive.

Men who were open to casual sex were generally viewed as more masculine.  However, women generally viewed men who seemed to be sexually promiscuous as unattractive for short and long term relationships.

This study shows that first impressions, even in pictures, can be an accurate guide to deciding whether a relationship in worth pursuing.  Subtle clues can give away attitudes but cannot be considered a surefire method of judging a person’s motivations.

People who are looking at pictures on a dating site may want to trust their instincts when deciding whether to respond to a person. Their photograph may be telling more about them than either person realizes.

This research by Durham University study was published in Evolution and Human Behavior.

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