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The Strangely Obvious Reason You Should Never Choose Your Own Online Dating Pictures

Glamour logo Glamour 4/14/2017 Suzannah Weiss

Some people spend hours curating the perfect selection of pictures for their online dating profiles. But according to a new study in Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, we may be better off leaving that task to our friends.

University of New South Wales Sydney researchers asked 100 college students which of 12 pictures of themselves they'd use for their Facebook, LinkedIn, and online dating profiles. They also asked them which photos they'd pick for other people. Then, they had people rate each picture online based on attractiveness, competence, and trustworthiness.

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The good news: Your photos are just as hot as you think they are. Both the people in the photos and the strangers picked the ones that got the highest attractiveness ratings.

But if you're hoping to show your personality in a positive light, that's where your friends may come in handy. "Unfamiliar people appeared to select images that were at once all three"—that is, attractive, competent, and trustworthy—lead author David White told Time. Since we're looking at our own faces all the time, he explained, we don't have a great sense of how others perceive them. "The practical advice is that people should really ask someone else to select their next profile picture," White explained.

Another study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science last year found that while people tend to believe they look best in selfies, others actually think they look better and seem more likable in photos taken by other people. So, when it comes to presenting the best versions of ourselves, we really may not be able to trust our own judgment.

But all of this only applies if you're hoping to optimize the way others perceive your profile. If you just want a profile you feel awesome about, disregard this info and just keep rocking whatever photo you feel like.

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