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When it comes to online dating, it's difficult to know how to put your best foot forward; all potential suitors can see are a few photos, a short bio, and a handful of your interests. To make the stakes even higher, research also shows that we pass judgment about someone within a split second of laying eyes on them for the first time. But if you're looking to up your online dating game, a new study found that other people are actually better at selecting profile pictures of you than you are.
The study, which was led by a group of researchers at UNSW Sydney, asked 102 students to choose two out of 12 potential photos that they would most likely use as a profile photo for social media, dating sites, and career networking sites. After selecting images of themselves, they also did the same for others who had previously participated in the survey. The researchers then took to the internet to see how strangers perceived these photos. In the end, the researchers found that the images not chosen by the individuals themselves were deemed more "attractive" or "professional" than those the individuals personally selected.
“Our findings suggest that people make poor choices when selecting flattering images of themselves for online profile pictures, which affects other people's perception of them,” says David White, PhD, the lead author of the study. Although further research is needed to discover exactly why this is the case, it may be in your best interest to poll your friends before adding a photo to the dating app you just downloaded. "If you want to put your best face forward, it makes sense to ask someone else to choose your picture."