6. Use photographs with members of the opposite sex

6. Use photographs with members of the opposite sex

Following on from being creative, generating a sense of mystery in your profile picture will leave people wondering and perhaps make them curious about you. A sense of mystery may be conveyed by having unusual interests or being original in some way. The reason why creating a sense of mystery is important is explained by the fact that we are simply intrigued when a person has an unusual interest or hobby and want to find out more (Apostolou Christoforou, 2020). For example, a profile picture showing travel to somewhere unusual without giving away the precise location, or displaying an unusual skill, may well make people curious and want to discover more.

Some 18% of all profile pictures show daters in the company of other people (Dating Scout). While this conveys the impression that a person is socially competent and comfortable in the company of others, might such pictures have other benefits?

5. Use photos alongside other people

If you do this, then you might first think about how attractive you are compared to the other people in your photo. If you consider yourself to be unattractive, then being viewed in a photo alongside other unattractive people can have the effect of making you appear more attractive than being in a photo alone.

Alternatively, if you consider yourself to be attractive, then being in a photo with less attractive people can make you look less attractive than being in a photo alone (Rodway, Schepman Lambert, 2013). This is explained by the fact your own attractiveness may be rated in terms of the overall attractiveness rating for the group, referred to as the assimilation effect.

Contrary to the above, the contrast effect suggests that being viewed in a photo alongside attractive people may mean that you are judged as less attractive by comparison. According to this contrast rule, we appear more attractive when viewed in the company of people less attractive but are judged as less attractive when viewed in the company of people more attractive.

Whether the assimilation or contrast effect applies may depend on the size of the difference in attractiveness between you are the other people in your profile.

Whether or not we benefit from photographs in the company of others, also depends on our gender and the gender of the person with whom we are pictured.

In contexts where two people of the same gender are seen together, then an assimilation effect applies, with an unattractive person being judged as more attractive when viewed in the company of those more attractive but judged less attractive when they are with others less attractive. However when people of the opposite sex are viewed together, then the same assimilation rule only applies for men, in that they are perceived as being more attractive when seen with attractive women.

Indeed, some men use wing women services, (paying to surround themselves with attractive women) as a way to make them appear more attractive. However, women are unlikely to be viewed as more attractive as a result of being viewed in the company of other attractive men. What matters most for women is how they look.

7. Use photos that include children

Posing in your profile photo with a child could be interpreted as a subtle hint iamnaughty coupon that a person wants children of their own. Some 47% of men and around 53% of women include children in their dating profiles, although this number does decrease with age (Dating Scout).

A study in which women viewed men in different situations, (standing alone, vacuuming a rug, interacting with a child) found that the men viewed interacting with the child were rated as more attractive, than the men in the other conditions. Furthermore, men who were viewed as paying no attention to children wanting attention were rated as less attractive (La Cerra, 1995). This simply means that men who indicate in their dating profiles that they can be good fathers would be rated as more desirable.

Ashwin Parmar

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