It turns out the one piece of advice we ever gave about online dating was dead wrong. This episode, we decided to let science do the advising and tell us everything we wanted to know about dating:
What should your profile look like? What kind of jokes do people find attractive? Is it really so bad to post a web cam shot? Are men really looking for hot bods and women looking for deep pockets? How does the pill affect your choice of lover? Luckily, researchers have studied these questions and we bring you their findings!
Show note of shame: Most of these studies looked exclusively at straight people, but we do include non-hetero facts wherever we could find them.
We finally dug up our references. Here they are (you’ll need academic journal access to open some of these):
- OkCupid Trends Blog (always a treasure trove of entertaining data and commentary) busts profile picture myths, including our assumption that taking a picture of yourself looks pathetic.
- Online dating makes people picky. Speed dating makes us less picky. Read about it in the New York Times.
- Study of people’s preferences on Hot or Not discussed in the Globe and Mail. Oddly, it says that lesbians were the least superficial, which is a weird finding for a study of people’s photos preferences. One day we’ll look at the actual study and find out what that’s all about.
- Study of who people contact online. They look at physical attractiveness, height, income, race, and more. (Hitsch, Hortacsu, and Ariely, 2006). Check out the income-height and income-race trade-offs in the appendices.
- Study alleging that self-deprecating humour is super sexy if you’re a high status college kid (Greengross and Miller, 2008, in Evolutionary Psychology) . But check out this graph. Non-humour story wins, right? Are we reading this wrong?
- The classic study of MHC genes and attraction by Wedekind et al, 1995, Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Women smelled shirts worn by men for two days in a row, and seemed to prefer the smells of genetically dissimilar men. Being on the pill changed who they preferred. Note that since this study, there have been pretty mixed results on this subject (Havlicek and Roberts, 2009). Also, we can’t seem to find that study of MHC preferences in non-straight people… Only sketchy blogs mention it. Sorry about that.
- In speed dating, women normally stay put, and men rotate from one date to another. This study played around with the rotator/sitter roles, and found that sitting makes you pickier. Neat!