Recently I decided to test out a theory by my friends Race and Kelly on the Plenty of Fish dating site. The concept is simple. Basically it states that the more quality pictures you have visible on your online profile, the more value you display and thus the more dates you will be able to receive. For example, if you applied this concept to plentyoffish.com then it would mean that a person who displays the maximum 8 pictures in their profile is more likely to create attraction than a person who displays only one picture.
Luckily, POF comes with an easy way to measure a profile’s attraction. If we can measure the attraction of a profile and we know how many pictures those same profiles display, it shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with some type of measure between the quantity of pictures displayed and the level of attraction.
How do we measure attraction on a Plenty of Fish profile? Simply by looking at the number times a profile has been “favorited.” When someone favorites you, that is an indicator of interest or attraction. So, we can assume that profiles with a high number of favorites should be considered highly attractive individuals and profiles with a low number of favorites would be considered less attractive.
The first step in this experiment was to gather all the data. I went through the PlentyofFish site and selected random men and women from across the country and recorded both the quantity of pictures and number of times favorited for each profile. In all, I collected data from approximately 200 sets of male profiles and 200 sets of female profiles.
I then sorted each data set (one for each gender) by the quantity of pictures displayed and took an average of the “Favorites” for each quantity group.
I then graphed the correlation between the quantity of profile pictures and the # times favorited.
Looking at the male graph, it is pretty clear that there is a positive correlation between quantity of profile pictures and attraction. It shows that for each picture, attraction level or “favorites” will on average increase by the same amount.
The female graph, however, is a bit more crazy. There is certainly an upward trend in # times favorited but has a few erratic swings with a big dip at 5 pictures, a giant spike at 6 pictures and then dropping again at 7 and 8 pictures.
This isn’t the most scientific experiment and there is certainly several opportunities for bias to occur in the data results. A few possible flaws are as follows:
- It is possible that men and women who are perceived at being better looking may be more comfortable displaying more pictures of themselves. This would produce bias in the data as better looking people who display more pictures would naturally receive a higher number of favorites just off of looks alone.
- The range of # times favorited in the women’s data is much greater than that of the men’s data. Some women’s profiles swing into the triple digits with the highest having over 500 favorites. These wild upswings for some women will have an impact on the average for those particular picture groups. This would explain for the big spikes in the graph.
There appears to be a positive correlation between number of profile pictures displayed and attraction level though certainly not proven. Also, this only applies to an average profile, as it is clear that some profiles with many pictures may still be viewed as unattractive and profiles with few pictures could be seen as highly attractive.
I’ve added in the original Plenty of Fish data sets above, so if there is anyone else out there with a better statistics background who’d like to take a stab at analyzing the data let me know.