One Reddit commenter put it this way: Further — everywhere men floated the “don’t smile in pictures” advice, many women decried how much they hated these nonsmiling pictures.But, the men countered, women don’t necessarily know what they want.Using the massive stores of data on our platform, we set out to reproduce Ok Cupid’s process (as laid out by the Myths of Profile Pictures post). And in Ok Cupid’s case, it’s reasonable to assume that they got the interesting result they wanted, in part, by cutting out particular populations from their data set. Why did Ok Cupid eliminate users outside of the ages of 18 and 32?We narrowed the demographics of our data set accordingly, matching their 7,140-photo sample. Ok Cupid used a sample of 7,140 photographs from users aged 18-32, in big cities, possessing average attractiveness (that is, they lopped off the top and bottom 20%), and who had profiles containing only one photo and no text. Why did they eliminate users who were most and least attractive?But the number of men who were not smiling and looking away (especially in early 2010, before Ok Cupid advised it) would be in the hundreds at most.Even today, less than 15% of photos have no eye contact.
Internally, we labeled these photos as “avoidant” because they tend to come across to strangers as if the subject is too timid to make eye contact.TL; DR: OKCupid’s study on male dating photos fails reproducibility If you’re a guy who uses online dating sites/apps, you’ve probably heard this one: don’t smile in your picture.Better yet, don’t smile and look away from the camera.Then we ran each picture through a variety of analysis scripts (in our case, neural nets that detected smiles and eye contact) as well as tagged each one by hand until total agreement was reached. The explanation given (that they “[feared it] would skew [their] results”) is no explanation at all.Finally, we used Photofeeler attractiveness ratings to gauge the success of the various photo types (smiling, not smiling, eye contact, no eye contact). our own: Ok Cupid’s data said that not smiling and not making eye contact was better. They didn’t have to “fear” anything because, in all likelihood, they first ran their numbers with these populations included.
Truthfully, even if a particular photo strategy showed a slight difference in average effectiveness, the individual photos score all over the map.