CHANCES ARE, if you grew up with your mother constantly yelling at you to stand up straight, she wasn’t worrying about your future dating life. She might have inadvertently been looking out for your best romantic interests, though. A recent study found that people who exhibit a straight posture in their online dating profiles are more likely to land dates than their slouchier counterparts.
When we size people up for their potential date-worthiness, we do it with rapid speed, especially when it comes to swiping around on apps. Studies have shown that it only takes seven seconds for us to decide whether someone we’re meeting or seeing for the first time is trustworthy, attractive, or compatible with our personalities, and researchers are always trying to figure out which variables can positively or negatively affect our initial judgments. This time, they decided to look at posture, to see if we have anything in common with the animals of the world who, in some cases, literally peacock around.
A study was published on the topic in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, after finding that subjects who exhibited “postural expansiveness” experienced double the odds of making a connection over subjects who were hunched over. Postural expansiveness, as the name suggests, refers to how much space you take up with your posture and limbs. According to the findings, the more the better. It’s that whole dominance thing.
To test this out, they conducted two different real-life experiments. In the first experiment, researchers filmed 144 different speed-dating sessions and analyzed the nonverbal cues that the daters were giving off throughout. After the sessions, they asked subjects questions about who they would want to see again and what their first impressions were.
They found that the people who gestured the most with their arms and hands almost doubled their chances of getting to round two when compared to the people who just sat there, twiddling their thumbs.
To determine whether the same held true for the online dating realm, they snapped photos of the same people in two different poses. Of course, one was all good on the expansive posture front, while the other more was contracted. Then they waited to see how many dates each photo attached to a profile could land, and confirmed that the more expansive pose won again.
The results held up for both men and women, although they were a little stronger for men, probably because of the different associations we subconsciously make about what is considered “powerful” or “appealing” in different genders. Guess proponents of manspreading are going to have a new weapon in their arsenal. The take-away? If you’re bent over tying your shoe on your Tinder photo or something, it’s time to schedule a photo shoot.