Online dating is a magical invention that allows us to connect with people we otherwise wouldn’t—but it can also be incredibly complicated. And while there’s tons of advice out there on how to create the perfect online dating profile, this latest tip comes to us courtesy of science. Namely, the advice is that we should let strangers—or, at the very least, our friends—select our profile pictures.
According to a study published in Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, we’re not super-great at choosing the best photos of ourselves. Researchers asked 102 college students to pick 12 photos of themselves that they would use on social media. Then they had them choose photos for other participants’ social profiles. Afterward, the participants rated their photos and others’ photos based on five criteria: attractiveness, trustworthiness, dominance, competence and confidence.
The study found that the photos the individual considered the best were not the same as the ones the strangers chose. The strangers chose photos that were considered attractive, competent and trustworthy. Basically, the findings said that strangers are better at choosing photos of us that showcase our personality. “When it comes to choosing the best version of ourselves, it may be wise to let other people choose for us,” sums up the key author of the study, David White.