Looking for love? How body language can increase your online dating success
Published 29/03/2016 | 17:19
Those who are looking for love can appear more attractive to potential partners by simply making their body language more open and approachable.
In this social-media era of fleeting first impressions, where a photo and a brief caption may be the only information available, body language could be more important than ever.
A recent study of speed dating and online dating profiles found that expansive postures with open arms and stretched our torsos helped people appear more approachable and therefore more attractive to prospective partners.
The open body language also resulted in the person being much more likely to be asked out on a 'real' date.
The pose, called "postural expansiveness", basically refers to how much space you take up with your torso and limbs.
This is opposed to appear hunched up and closed off, keeping their arms and legs close to their torso.
"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," explained Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk - an expert in human behavior at the University of California, Berkeley - to Smithsonian.
"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.' "
Previous research has highlighted that humans are exceptionally gifted at picking up on non-verbal cues and making snap judgements.
“Within milliseconds, we can pick up a suite of information about a person, with social dominance and hierarchical standing being one of those things," said Vacharkulksemsuk.
This latest study, which is set to be published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, examined 144 speed dates event at Northwestern University, which involved 12 men and 12 women who spoke for four minutes at a time.
The attendees then reported whether they were attracted to their date.
They found an open, expansive nonverbal pose expressed during the date significantly predicted the odds of getting a "yes" response.
In fact, those who gestured with their hands and moved their arms "nearly doubled their odds of getting a 'yes' from their partner," compared with those who sat still or kept their arms to themselves, said Vacharkulksemsuk.
A second experiment involved a dating app similar to Tinder, where users select potential dates according to photographs and brief profile notes.
Participants were shown dating profiles of the same people. This difference was that one featured a photo with an expansive posture and the with a closed posture. The other details were kept the same.
They found that profile pictures showing outstretched arms and legs were 27 per cent more likely to elicit a 'yes' response than those with crossed arms.
However, the study also found that although open postures increased 'yes' responses for both genders, they were more effective in garnering a match for men than for women.