Selective Self-PresentationSocial Information Processing TheoryOnline DatingMobile DatingBeauty FiltersTrustworthinessAttractiveness
University of CologneUniversity of RegensburgUniversity of Würzburg
Mobile dating apps are popular platforms to initiate romantic relationships that provide several means for idealized self-presentation—such as the possibility to modify one’s photos with the help of beauty filters. Connecting and extending prior theory and research, a model on the influence of filter use on potential dating partners’ perceived trustworthiness and attractiveness is proposed. We conducted a pre-registered online experiment (N = 241), showing that (hetero- or bisexual) women perceive male Tinder users with filtered photos (as compared to the same users with unfiltered photos) as more physically attractive—but as less trustworthy. The more attractive and trustworthy the profile owner was perceived, the more likely the women were inclined to date him. Attractiveness had a greater influence on women’s dating intention than trustworthiness, leading to a positive overall effect of filter use on dating intention, irrespective of photo-editing experience. Implications are discussed.
Markus AppelFabian HutmacherTheresa PolittJan-Philipp Stein