‘It’s a match’: the science of swiping

Valentine’s day is approaching and once again you’ve found yourself without a date. Maybe it’s time to try out a dating app: Tinder, Grindr, PlentyOfFish? Whichever you choose it’s all about making the perfect profile to rake in those matches and now there’s a scientific checklist to ensure that you’re on the right track.

Professor Khalid Khan of Queen Mary University, having watched his friend repeatedly fail to find a girlfriend, has reviewed dozens of research articles on the science of online dating and attraction. His paper, published in the journal Evidence-Based Medicine, draws from sociology, psychology, computer and behavioural science to outline the ways to maximise your chances of getting a date.

The Username: some websites and apps require a user or screen name, you should avoid names that have “undesirable” connotations such as “little” and “bugg”. Names with a playful tone such as “fun2bwith” receive positive reactions amongst both men and women, whilst men are particularly attracted to names emphasising physical attractiveness eg “cutie”, women prefer names indicating intelligence like “Cultured”. Names are often listed alphabetically, so using a name starting with a letter near the top of the alphabet may increase your chances of getting noticed.

Profile Picture: attire and physical features have a powerful influence on response rates. A genuine smile one that “crinkles up your eyes” will help make a positive first impression. The “head tilt” will also increase attractiveness, but don’t tilt too much. Men are also strongly attracted to women wearing red in their profile pictures.

Keep it simple. People who use language that is easy to understand score higher on perceived intelligence levels because people are drawn to words that are easy to remember and pronounce.

The Photo Gallery: use group photos of you having a good time, this makes you seem popular and sociable. Women are particularly attracted to photos of men in which other women are smiling at them. You should also capitalise on the centre-stage effect, using photos where you are in the middle makes you seem important and therefore more attractive. This can be reinforced by photos where you are touching another person (but stick to the socially acceptable upper arm), the toucher is perceived as having a higher social status than the one being touched.

The Description: use the 70:30 ratio. Your description can’t be all about you, but needs to be realistic. Talk about what kind of person you are (70%) and what you are looking for (30%) for example: “genuine, attractive, outgoing, professional female, good sense of humour, into keeping fit, socialising, music and travel, seeks like-minded, good-natured guy to share quality times.” This combination achieves the best results. Women prefer bravery and courage to kindness and altruism in the description whilst men are drawn to physical fitness (with a preference for yoga and aerobics over rugby and weightlifting).

So there you have it, the scientifically proven checklist to the perfect dating profile. But when it’s midday on Valentine’s day you might still be better off frantically swiping right on Tinder…

Bored of superlikes and the endless swiping? Try these Tinder alternatives 


“We’re changing the rules to the game” – Bumble offers the first conversation move to the woman. If the female doesn’t send a message within the first 24 hours of matching, the connection is lost. For same sex relationships or just friendships, either partner has the option to send the first message or extend the 24 hour period.


Happn is the dating app with a twist. Match with people based on your location, routine and who you cross paths with on a daily basis. See that cute guy in the bakery everyday? Maybe he’s on Happn and if he is, the app will be able to tell you just how many times you’ve crossed paths with them. 

Anyone old or new to the dating scene, anyone not even on the dating scene will be familiar with the name The app brings the reliable name to your mobile device and brings your daily curated matches that you can simply send a ‘wink’ to display your interest.


Budding music lover? Tastebuds, unlike other dating apps, takes into keen interest your taste in music, matching you with similar vibey lovers so you cam get down and dirty to some funky tunes.


About Author


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/wp_35pmrq/ on line 11

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/wp_35pmrq/ on line 26
December 2021
Latest Comments
About Us

The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.