The study found that originality in an online dating profile text improves evaluations of personality and attractiveness.

Additionally, owners of “original” profiles are rated as being smarter, funnier, and more likable.

A new study of online dating site users found a correlation between the perceived originality of text in dating profiles and higher perceptions of attractiveness. Tess van der Zanden and colleagues from Tilburg University in the Netherlands recently published their findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE and outlined the characteristics of “original” profiles.

Previous research has shown a relationship between the originality of texts, such as poetry and song lyrics, and their popularity. Less is known, however, about how originality affects readers’ perceptions of the writer and what aspects of a text make it seem original. Furthermore, no prior research has specifically looked at the relationship between perceived originality and attraction in the setting of online dating profiles.

To shed new light, van der Zanden and colleagues polled 1,234 online dating site users on the originality of text in several real dating profiles, as well as the personality and attractiveness of the profile owners. The majority of users on the study’s included sites were over 50. To protect the privacy of the owners, all 308 profiles utilized for the research underwent modifications.

psychology, sociology

Examples of the original Dutch dating profiles used for the experiment. Credit: van der Zanden et al., 2022, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0

Analysis of the participants’ ratings showed that owners of profiles perceived as being more original tended to also score higher on perceived intelligence, sense of humor, attractiveness, and likelihood of participants wanting to date them. In general, participants showed high agreement on which profile texts they perceived as original and which they perceived as odd; odd profiles were generally not considered to be original.

In a second analysis, the researchers analyzed the 308 anonymized dating profiles to investigate text features that may contribute to perceptions of originality. They found that text perceived as being more original used original stylistic features, such as metaphors, and these profiles also disclosed more and more concrete personal information.

On the basis of their findings, the authors suggest that crafting effective text in a dating profile may require owners to carefully balance novelty and appropriateness. They outline several directions for future research, including analyses involving younger participants and exploration of the originality of texts in other areas beyond online dating, such as job cover letters or advertisements.

The authors add: “An online dating profile text considered original boosts personality and attractiveness evaluations.”

Reference: “Originality in online dating profile texts: How does perceived originality affect impression formation and what makes a text original?” by Tess van der Zanden, Alexander P. Schouten, Maria B. J. Mos and Emiel J. Krahmer, 19 October 2022, PLOS ONE.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274860

The authors received no specific funding for this work.

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