Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Here’s why you shouldn’t judge people too harshly on dating apps


A new study has found people struggling to make a meaningful connection while dating may have their addiction to apps like Tinder to blame.

However, it’s not the apps themselves that are necessarily the problem, but how we use them. Apparently, incessant swiping increases our propensity to become obsessed with physical appearance – meaning that we could be missing out on the chance to make more organic connections.

Researchers at the University of Kansas wanted to get a better understanding of how physical attractiveness impacts online dating.

They selected 65 heterosexual men and 65 women for the study, and broke them up into three groups.

One group rated a selection of 10 photos of members of the opposite sex based on physical attractiveness. They then spent 10 minutes having a conversation with one of the people featured in the photos, before rating the photos again.

Read More: Why men don’t message first on Tinder, according to science

A second group rated 10 photos before meeting someone who wasn’t in any of the pictures.

Group three, meanwhile, interacted with a member of the opposite sex without looking at any photos at all.


The researchers discovered that individuals’ perceptions of physical attractiveness often increased after meeting someone in person.

Nearly all participants rated their date’s attractiveness higher once they’d spent time together in real life, especially if they had originally deemed that person’s looks to be “average” or “less than average”. 

Read More: Three ways to bounce back from life’s challenges

In other words, you’re more likely to find someone attractive if you hang out in person and form an emotional connection – rather than immediately swiping left because they aren’t some sort of Adonis. 

The study also found that having an endless supply of pictures to trawl through may mean people have trouble giving any one individual a chance, as they’re constantly distracted by the idea that something (or someone) better might be out there.

Watch: The top 5 things people lie about on dating apps

Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, led the study. He says that going off someone’s social media photos alone is not a good strategy for picking a date.

“It misses a lot of what makes for a good conversation,” he says, adding: “The characteristics of a good conversational partner change how attractive they are in your eyes.”

Instead of distractedly swiping left and right while watching TV, Professor Hall has this advice for online daters: “Ask yourself, ‘Would I really like to spend time with this person?’

“Rather than go through hundreds of photos, digest a few at a time. Slow down. Be more careful about considering who you're going to date.

“And if that person's personality is wonderful, your evaluation of their physical attractiveness will follow."

Essentially, the same advice your gran gave you: never judge a book by its cover. 

Images: Getty/Rex Features



Praise be, Domino's has made a chocolate pizza


Gillian Anderson takes aim at The X-Files’ lack of gender diversity


Shocking new study reveals why bees are struggling to survive


Bake Off’s Sophie makes surprising claim about “experienced” Steven

It’s time to cast your minds back to the first episode, GBBO fans…

24 Oct 2017

Amazon allegedly passed on Big Little Lies for a grossly sexist reason

A report claims programming chief Roy Price dismissed the hit show

by Amy Swales
23 Oct 2017

The ultimate guide to flaking on your friends (without feeling guilty)

Clear your calendar *and* your conscience

by Kate Faithfull-Williams
23 Oct 2017

These 3 simple techniques will allow you to control your dreams

Research highlights how to increase your chances of lucid dreaming

by Moya Crockett
23 Oct 2017

Blake Lively on how women in Hollywood are limited by “likeability"

The actor points out men can be "assholes" and still seen as charming

by Megan Murray
23 Oct 2017

This London cheese restaurant is offering halloumi ice cream

Cheese fans and bored veggies, rejoice

by Susan Devaney
23 Oct 2017

20 soothing, beautiful songs guaranteed to help you fall asleep

An expert picks the ultimate classical music playlist

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Oct 2017

Puppy dog eyes are a thing and your dog makes them just for you

A study says dogs change their facial expressions when humans are looking

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2017

Here’s how to buy a house or a flat for the princely sum of £1

It's time to enter the real-estate raffle

by Megan Murray
20 Oct 2017

Oxford University under fire for shocking lack of racial diversity

One MP called the revelations an example of “social apartheid”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2017