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I’m entering the world of online dating. How do I improve my chances of getting a match?

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Online dating is a cruel world, but there are some things you can do to boost your chances.

Fear not, there is a surprising amount of research into the effectiveness of different dating profiles – a recent review identified over 80 relevant studies!


It turns out that even your username can make a difference: heterosexual men are attracted to women with names that imply attractiveness (such as ‘hottie87’), whereas heterosexual women tend to go for men with names that imply intelligence and class (like ‘educated-matt’).

In terms of your profile picture, you’ll be seen as more attractive if you have a genuine smile and are looking at the camera. If you include other pics, it helps to present yourself around other people who appear to be having a good time.

When it comes to your bio, the optimal ratio is apparently to devote 70 per cent of the description to yourself and 30 per cent to the kind of person you’re looking for. Also, rather than claiming that you have a good sense of humour and that you’re smart, it’s more effective to demonstrate your wit and intellect in what you write.

Generally speaking, people are drawn to similarity, so if you’re cunning you could first identify someone you’re interested in and then compose a profile that accentuates what you have in common – but beware, if you lie, this is likely to backfire further down the line!

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Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.


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