Why Online Dating Doesn’t Work – According to Science

You know the old saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, that your mum definitely told you more than once?

Well, anyone who has Tinder, Happ’n or Bumble will know, you are probably ignoring that pretty sound advice.

According to Princeton psychology professor Alexander Todorov’s new book ‘Face Value’, it takes our brain just thirty milliseconds to look at a face and make a first impression.

In just thirty milliseconds, you will decide if you trust and like a person based on how their face looks.

TBH, that sounds about right considering how quickly I’ll swipe left or right without even clicking on someone’s Tinder profile.

Me after looking at someones face for less than a second

Even though most of us know that faces aren’t reflective of their personalities, we still see a photo of a feminine-faced young girl and automatically think she would be sweet and lovely.

We often not just form these first impressions, but we then believe them even if they are entirely superficial and often wrong.

According to Todorov, we judge faces dependent on attractiveness, dominance and trustworthiness.

For instance, if you are attracted to men who are strong and confident, you will most likely swipe right to the faces that look more masculine.

In ‘Face Value’, Todorov warns that judging someone’s character based solely on how they look in one picture, in one moment, can be incredibly misleading and not at all reflective of their characteristics.

Taking incredible neuroscience research and placing it in the mind of every single girl – this is worrying for all of us who put our faith in online dating apps.

So, how do you navigate the dating world with this new information?

Don’t swipe left or right straight away, actually go on their profile and see if their interests match yours.

Or you could be even braver and start going on blind dates. There are plenty of places in Sydney that host cool singles events which you and your single girlfriends can go check out, and from there you can form an impression after a solid conversation.

Just don’t let first impressions decide whether or not you’ll date someone now that science has proved they will most likely be wrong.

Milly Haddrick


Milly is passionate about the issues and concerns of women navigating their way through the world of sex, dating and relationships, with a side passion for brie, dark chocolate and red wine.


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