- Courtesy of Bumble
- After working at Tinder and now at Bumble, Dr. Jess Carbino has found that smiling boosts your chances of matching with someone.
- But too many people try to look like a model in their profile photos, “grimacing” or not emoting at all.
- Carbino said smiling makes people look kinder and more approachable.
Models are sexy. Models generally don’t smile in magazine photos. You want to look sexy. So you shouldn’t smile in your dating profile photos.
Brilliant logic, except that it isn’t. Why? No offense to you, dear reader, but you probably don’t have the model thing down yet. If you want to appeal to potential mates, you’d do better to cheer up.
That’s according to Dr. Jess Carbino, the in-house sociologist at Bumble (she previously worked at Tinder). Carbino said her research suggests that “smiling makes such a significant difference” in whether someone gets swiped right on.
And yet too many people fall into the pose-like-a-model trap and post photos where they’re not smiling at all.
“We’ve been so socialized to believe that this sexy, smoldering look is theoretically appealing because we’ve watched people in movies and in Calvin Klein ads presenting themselves in this way,” Carbino said. “But the vast majority of people don’t look like people in Calvin Klein ads.”
What’s more, Carbino said, not smiling “doesn’t give off the type of sentiment that you want to be projected toward a potential match.” She added, “You want to come off as kind and approachable, which is what smiling projects.”
That’s in contrast to “seeming cold and distant, which is what a more grimacing or a less emotive look would project.”
Some research suggests faces are perceived as more attractive when the person is smiling
Research beyond the online-dating world backs up Carbino’s assertion.
In two experiments published 2014 in the journal Cognition and Emotion, researchers in Switzerland examined the relationship between attractiveness and smiling. They found that the stronger the smile, the more attractive a face looked.
In fact, they found, a happy facial expression appeared to compensate for relative unattractiveness.
Interestingly, a 2011 study published in the journal Emotion found that certain facial expressions are more attractive than others, depending on your gender.
According to the study, men appear most attractive to women when they display pride and least attractive when they display happiness; women appear most attractive to men when they display happiness and least attractive when they display pride. (Looks of shame increased attractiveness for both genders.)
Still, Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and author of “The Anatomy of Love,” is in the Carbino Camp when it comes to facial expressions.
As Fisher previously told Business Insider: “When you smile, those who see your smile, smile back, even if very briefly. And as they smile, they use facial muscles which trigger the release of neurochemicals in their brain associated with feelings of pleasure – and they are thus likely to feel happy in your company.”