- New research looks at ideal postures in quick dating contexts
- Study finds that posing with stretched limbs in profile pictures increases odds of success
Previous studies have shown that nonverbal cues such as a smile or a nod of the head garner interest from potential romantic partners. The gestures have what scientists call "positive signal value," meaning they create the impression that you are warm and friendly, someone others want to be around.
But modern courtship rarely lasts long enough to form an impression based on meaningful, real-life interactions. Decisions are made in a matter of minutes, even seconds, with a single swipe in digital dating or a passing encounter in the real world.
Research based on two studies found that literally extending yourself could make you more attractive in speed and online dating. In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that body postures involving widespread limbs and a stretched torso nearly doubles the odds of success compared with closed postures involving limbs held close to the torso, hunched over.
It's called "postural expansiveness," and it basically refers to how much space you take up with your torso and limbs. Such "power postures" convey dominance and willingness to share those traits with others, study co-author Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk said.
"We've seen it in the animal world, that taking up more space and maximizing presence in a physical space is used as signal for attracting a mate," Vacharkulksemsuk said. "By exerting dominance they're trying to signal to a potential mate 'I am able to do things, I have a space in this hierarchy, I have access to resources.' "
To test the theory with humans, Vacharkulksemsuk and her team conducted two field studies, involving speed-dating interactions and using a unnamed leading GPS-based online dating application.