“There is very little information available in someone’s profile, often just a photo and a few sentences. Based on that, you need to determine if you find someone attractive. So everything is under the microscope.” , explains doctoral student Tess van der Zanden. . Among other things, she studied the influence of language errors in someone’s dating profile on the impression someone leaves behind.
‘me’ instead of ‘my’
That mistakes are often made, it quickly becomes apparent after a little investigation. Dt errors, ‘me’ instead of ‘my’ and of course standard typos are common. Some examples :
For the study, Van der Zanden compared 12,000 dating profiles from various websites and apps and asked daters about their impressions of the profiles. She also showed participants different versions of fictitious profiles: with and without language errors.
Profiles with language errors always contained more than one error. Yet up to a third of the participants did not notice the errors at all. Among those who noticed it, the consequence was significant: Language errors or grammatical inaccuracies always had a negative impact on how people thought about a person’s attractiveness and character.
Typos were associated with carelessness, and grammatical errors made a person appear less intelligent to participants. Language errors also caused participants to think less about someone’s personality.
Another part of the study involved tracking people’s eye movements as they view a dating profile. “We wanted to see how important the text is in someone’s profile compared to the photo,” explains Van der Zanden. “Is the text less important if there is a photo next to it?”
Is attractiveness important?
As expected, people often looked at the photo first. However, attention eventually lingered longer on the text. “The attractiveness of the person in the photo did not determine the attention paid to the text, nor the impact of language errors.”
Thus, with an attractive person, the participants no longer forgave language errors. Something that has been suggested in the literature so far, according to Van der Zanden.
This is called the halo effect. It is the tendency to judge someone positively, based on only one aspect of the person, for example an attractive appearance. This kite was therefore not applicable to this study.
Here’s how to improve your dating profile:
After the research, Van der Zanden also has a number of tips for those building a dating profile. “Pay attention to both the photo and the text, because people pay attention to both. Also pay attention to how you describe yourself and the words you use.”
The originality of the profiles was well noted in the survey, mainly in the use of metaphors and figurative language. “So don’t say for example: ‘I know how to cook well’, but: ‘I am a star in the kitchen’.
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