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Before this advice was made popular by Ok Cupid, the only instances of not smiling and not making eye contact were at least somewhat contextually relevant. OKCupid’s study on male dating photos did not pass the reproducibility test in 2017.
Our data suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all photo strategy for all men.
We narrowed the demographics of our data set accordingly, matching their 7,140-photo sample. Ok Cupid used a sample of 7,140 photographs from users aged 18-32, in big cities, possessing average attractiveness (that is, they lopped off the top and bottom 20%), and who had profiles containing only one photo and no text. Why did they eliminate users who were most and least attractive?
Then we ran each picture through a variety of analysis scripts (in our case, neural nets that detected smiles and eye contact) as well as tagged each one by hand until total agreement was reached. The explanation given (that they “[feared it] would skew [their] results”) is no explanation at all.
This leaves only smiling ugly guys at the bottom of the spectrum and grumpy hot guys at the top, making it look like being grumpy makes you hot.
Building on the previous point, there’s the question of how many pictures of men not smiling and not making eye contact were in the data set to begin with.
Using the massive stores of data on our platform, we set out to reproduce Ok Cupid’s process (as laid out by the Myths of Profile Pictures post). And in Ok Cupid’s case, it’s reasonable to assume that they got the interesting result they wanted, in part, by cutting out particular populations from their data set. Why did Ok Cupid eliminate users outside of the ages of 18 and 32?Even today, less than 15% of photos have no eye contact.Before Ok Cupid declared it superior, it was likely 5-10% (200-300 photos split into 3 groups: smiling/not/flirty).Internally, we labeled these photos as “avoidant” because they tend to come across to strangers as if the subject is too timid to make eye contact.Fact is, these avoidant photos just didn’t exist before the 2010 Ok Cupid study.