New Paper: Language Use in Online Dating Profiles

Our paper “Impression formation on online dating sites: The effects of language errors in profile texts on perceptions of profile owners’ attractiveness” has been published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. You can read the abstract below, and the full paper is available open access here:

The paper is gaining traction in the popular press. In the UK, both The Times (paywall) and The Guardian have featured our research in their papers. Tess has also recently been interviewed by BNR (audio here, in Dutch) and articles about our study have appeared in the PsyPost and the Daily Mail.

This article presents two experimental studies investigating the impact of language errors in online dating profiles on impression formation. A first study examined whether language errors have a negative effect on perceptions of attraction and dating intention and whether this effect is moderated by the presence of visual information, that is, the profile picture. This 2 (Language Errors/No Language Errors) × 2 (Visible/Blurred Picture) experiment revealed that language errors negatively affect perceptions of social and romantic attraction and that a visible picture on a profile positively affects perceptions of physical attraction. Study 2 focused on mechanical, rule-based, and informal language errors, which can each be attributed to different personality traits. Mechanical and rule-based errors lead to lower scores on, respectively, perceived attentiveness and intelligence, which in turn lead to lower attraction and dating intention scores. These results highlight the importance of error-free language use as a cue for attractiveness.

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