Sociologist Who Worked At Tinder And Bumble Explains The Dating Profile Photo Mistake You’re Making

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Teerawit Chankowet /

You put on your favorite shirt, you take the photo from your good side, and your hair is on point. You snap your photo for your dating app profile pic. But one thing is missing… your smile. That is the key to an engaging and right-swiping profile photo according to a sociologist who has worked at Tinder and Bumble.

Dr. Jess Carbino earned her PhD in sociology from UCLA and has been a sociologist at Tinder and is currently working in the same role for Bumble unveils the secret to getting right-swipes on dating apps. Dr. Carbino’s research has found that smiling in your profile pic greatly enhances your chances for charming a special someone. The good doctor says ditch the Blue Steel serious model poses because you’re not a model.

“We’ve been so socialized to believe that this sexy, smoldering look is theoretically appealing because we’ve watched people in movies and in Calvin Klein ads presenting themselves in this way,” Dr. Carbino said. “But the vast majority of people don’t look like people in Calvin Klein ads.” The truth is a hard pill to swallow, but it could mean more right-swipes and that’s what really matters.

The whole uninterested model look “doesn’t give off the type of sentiment that you want to be projected toward a potential match,” She said. “Seeming cold and distant, which is what a more grimacing or a less emotive look would project.” Instead “you want to come off as kind and approachable, which is what smiling projects.”

There is actually some science that backs Dr. Carbino. In a 2014 study in the journal Cognition and Emotion, researchers in Switzerland found a strong correlation between people who smiled more and other people finding them more attractive. Smiling was such a turn-on that a happy facial expression was able to compensate for physical unattractiveness.

A 2011 scientific study published in the journal Emotion discovered that women were most attracted to men who displayed happiness and least attracted to men who showed pride. So re-do all of your dating app profile pics and say, “CHEEEEEEESE!”


Paul Sacca has written on a myriad of topics ranging from breaking news to movies to technology to men's interests for nearly a decade. His articles have been cited in numerous media powerhouses such as USA Today, New York Daily News, New York Post, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Huffington Post, Deadspin, and The Big Lead.