Edward Royzman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, asks me to list four qualities on a piece of paper: physical attractiveness, income, kindness, and fidelity.Then he gives me 200 virtual “date points” that I’m to distribute among the four traits.For women, however, "It's a more complex choice,” he said.“What tends to matter for females is that the overall package is good," meaning that women might accept a less-attractive mate if he was outstanding in some other way.She points out a few other tips in her “Tinder glossary:” “Most players reflexively swipe left [reject] at the sight of a toddler or baby,” but posing with your adorable Lab can be an “effective misdirection.” And then there’s the iron law that “95 percent of players who choose a calling card that does not include a clear shot of their face are unattractive.” It’s not the first time in history that a face plays such an important role in one’s fate.Physiognomy, or the bogus theory that we can predict a person’s character from their features, was once a widespread doctrine."Online, this might result in males restricting their potential mates.”is two decades old, but new, fast-growing apps such as Tinder have shifted the online-matching emphasis back to looks.Tinder dispenses with the idea that it takes a mutual love of pho or Fleet Foxes to create a spark; instead, users of the phone app swipe through the photos of potential mates and message the ones they like.
It takes longer, more meaningful interactions, however, to pinpoint other traits, like if the prospective mate is open, agreeable, or neurotic.Men and women make mating decisions very differently, he speculates.Men tend to act like single-issue voters: If a prospect is not attractive enough, he or she usually doesn’t qualify for a first date, period.It seems people might only be able to determine the extremes of a personality from a photo, rather than its nuances.(One study found that the owner of an "honest" face is not any more likely to be trustworthy, for example.)It’s true that attractive people generally are treated more nicely by others, and they might have better-adjusted personalities as a result. In relationships, personality eventually overtakes attractiveness—or at the very least, we tend to find people more attractive when we think they have good personalities.The more I allocate to each attribute, the more highly I supposedly value that quality in a mate.This experiment, which Royzman sometimes runs with his college classes, is meant to inject scarcity into hypothetical dating decisions in order to force people to prioritize.She launched Face Mate in 2011, drawing on her opinion that people in happy relationships tend to resemble each other.The site matches the photos of its users based on their faces’ bone structure using face-scanning techniques and a computer algorithm.As one columnist who used the service put it, “There’s a short bio, age, and mutual friends listed, but who’s really paying attention to that stuff when your Tinder flame is wearing next to nothing on the beach?”Then there’s Hinge, which uses a similar interface, but is backed by recommendations from the user’s “social graph,” such as their school or career field.Most people end up with someone who’s about as good-looking as they are.“People might prefer attractive people, but they often end up pairing off with people who are similar in attractiveness,” Leslie Zebrowitz, a psychology professor at Brandeis University and an expert on face perception, said.“You might shoot for the moon, but you take what you can get.”Twenty years ago, Christina Bloom was in a committed relationship when she met someone who “knocked me off my heels.” The two embarked on a fiery romance, during which she noticed that friends and strangers were always telling them they looked alike.So perhaps you should make that Tinder tagline all about how you volunteer at an animal shelter every weekend.