OkCupid.com, the online dating social networking site, decided to study their clients profile pictures to uncover any patterns that might exist in their data. In their blogpost discussing their study, “The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures,” they report:

we cataloged over 7,000 photographs on OkCupid.com, analyzing three primary things:

* Facial Attitude. Is the person smiling? Staring straight ahead? Doing that flirty lip-pursing thing?

* Photo Context. Is there alcohol? Is there a pet? Is the photo outdoors? Is it in a bedroom?

* Skin. How much skin is the person showing? How much face? How much breasts? How much ripped abs?

Based on the information they gathered they weigh the truth or falsity of four myths:

  • It’s better to smile
  • You shouldn’t take your picture with your phone or webcam
  • Guys should keep their shirts on
  • Make sure your face is showing

Part of what makes this interesting is that they do consider gender differences in the clients presentation of self. They include charts, graphs, and stats to support their claims. I think it could make for interesting classroom discussion.

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