You Can Be “Too Hot To Trust” On Dating Sites

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Sometimes, dating online feels like jumping hurdle after hurdle...after hurdle. But, it's not just rough for us normal people: New research suggests that women whose profile pictures are rated as more attractive are also rated as less trustworthy. In the study, which will be presented later this month at the 65th Annual International Communication Association Conference, researchers asked 305 heterosexual participants to look at profile pictures of the opposite sex. Participants were each randomly assigned to rate a picture that was either "beautified" (with hair and makeup and extra-flattering lighting) or one of the same person that had only good lighting.  Results showed that men rated the women with enhanced pictures as more attractive, but this came with a catch: These women were also rated as being less trustworthy. The dudes said they'd still be up for dating them, though. Women, meanwhile, rated men's enhanced pictures as both more attractive and more trustworthy. Results from other research make this finding a little troubling. In one study, men who posted more selfies on dating sites — especially ones that were touched up — rated more highly on the "dark triad" of traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. But, according to the new results, women wouldn't necessarily find those men untrustworthy — or be any less likely to date them. In fact, narcissists tend to do pretty well in the dating game. The difference here, though, is that we don't know how much the female participants actually displayed those traits; we just know how the other participants rated them. So, we don't know how accurate the guys' perceptions were. But, it suggests they're willing to forgo trustworthiness in the pursuit of hotness, which is certainly a noble cause.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series