April showers bring weekend nights staying home and swiping on Tinder, so the timing is right for an academic study published this week analyzing what types of profile picture poses and body language expressions get the most ‘Like’ swipes or green hearts on the online dating app. Turns out that profile pictures with “expansive” poses — what we sometimes call ‘manspreading’, though the practice can also be employed by females — are 27% more likely to get a ‘Like’. As someone who’s always desperate to get laid on Tinder, I was thrilled to see some peer-reviewed academic research on the topic.
In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a journal whose name the research community pronounces as “The Peenass” and I swear to God I’m not making that up, UC-Berkeley post-doctoral research fellow Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk and several other university researchers found that “postural expansiveness makes humans more romantically appealing”. The study performed 144 speed dates, but also 3,000 Tinder-swipe test cases, and found that arms-out expanded postures brought a higher incidence of Likes and desires for dates.
Per the study’s abstract:
“we tested the causality of postural expansion (vs. contraction) on attraction using a popular Global Positioning System-based online-dating application. Mate-seekers were significantly more likely to select partners displaying an expansive (vs. contractive) nonverbal posture. Mediation analyses demonstrate one plausible mechanism through which expansiveness is appealing: Expansiveness makes the dating candidate appear more dominant. In a dating world in which success sometimes is determined by a split-second decision rendered after a brief interaction or exposure to a static photograph, single persons have very little time to make a good impression. Our research suggests that a nonverbal dominance display increases a person’s chances of being selected as a potential mate.”
A separate study that also incorporated data from OKCupid, Grindr, Match and eHarmony was published by Consumers’ Research this month and found that Tinder — despite being the most popular and most commonly used app — was also the app least likely to produce a relationship. Tinder also edged out OKCupid as the app most likely to solicit online harassment from suitors.
“Tinder users reported the least success with ending up in relationships of any duration and trailed the other platforms in terms of longevity,” notes author Kyle Burgess. “The highest reports of harassment came from Tinder and OkCupid users at 39 and 38 percent respectively.”
Once you’ve expansively manspread your arms for your new Tinder pictures and adjusted your expectations of dating success downward, remember our report last fall about the best opening lines on dating apps for San Franciscans.