I can solemnly say I probably would have swiped left on most of the boys I really liked throughout my life if I had only seen them on a dating app.
I think any girl who's ever tried to make her friends Facebook stalk the new guy she likes can attest to the fact that boys suck at choosing profile pictures. So you're stuck scrolling through his "added by others" pics for a decent, not-totally-wasted picture, while you keep repeating to your friends, "I swear he's cuter in person," all the while knowing they don't believe you.
So anyway, the whole concept of choosing someone to go on a date with based solely on the dumb pictures they chose has never really sat well with me.
A new study led by researchers at the University of Kansas wanted to look into just how much our perceptions of people we see on dating apps change when we actually meet them in real life.
What they found was pretty interesting. Turns out, you'll think someone's hotter after you have a good time with them IRL.
A group of students were asked to rate strangers based on their pictures.
The researchers made their discovery by creating a Tinder-like simulation for a group of straight students.
First, the students were asked to look at pictures of 10 people of the opposite sex (similar to swiping through 10 people on Tinder). Next, they were asked to rate each of the person's attractiveness on a scale of one to 10.
After they submitted their ratings, they were put in a room with one of the people they had just rated and forced to have a 10-minute IRL conversation with them.
The participants were asked to rate them again after having met IRL.
Following the conversations, the researchers asked the participants questions about how "likable, responsive, smart and funny" the partners were. Finally, they were asked to rank the same 10 photos a second time.
One of the study's lead authors, Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies, explained that they found "there was a significant difference in the attractiveness rating only for the person participants had just interacted with."
Basically, they found the participant's rating of the person they had met were far more generous the second time around.
They found that there are two characteristics that can make you hotter IRL.
When it comes to being hot in real life, the study found that being friendly and funny will go a long way for you.
Two characteristics played an important role in whether the rating changed. One was social attractiveness, which is whether we think we could be friends. It's not sexual attractiveness or romance, but likability. The other was combined sense-of-humor or being-a-fun-person measure. If you're rated more highly in those two things, your appearance rating goes up more.
The people who benefitted the most from having these two traits were people who were "rated mid to low attractiveness to begin with." So, if you're a solid four on the one to 10 scale, a sense of humor and a friendly attitude can go a long way for ya.
Hall echoes those sentiments: "If you are friendly and have a great sense of humor, you stand to gain a lot by getting your foot in the door. Physical attractiveness is not fixed; it's malleable.”
But if you're already a solid 10 on the one to 10 scale, based on just your face alone, a great personality won't do much more for you, unfortunately.
“You didn't see the same increase for really attractive people,” Hall said. “There's a ceiling effect. You can't get much better. For those in the middle, there's room for improvement.”
No wonder so many hot guys are duds. It seems like they don't need the good personality to set them over the edge.
Before you go writing off that weird-looking Tinder match who asked you out on a date, maybe give him a shot IRL. There's a chance meeting him in person could change your mind.