Because like the couples in the study that were equally attractive, they never know their matches before they start dating.
The swipe-left, swipe-right dating app Tinder, for example, is known for making matches based on an internal attractiveness ranking it calculates for each of its users.
Where one classmate might find a student’s earnestness in class endearing, another might dislike it.
If that’s the case, it doesn’t seem like beauty is in the eye of the beholder for online daters.
To understand why, imagine four college graduates moving into a new apartment.
They have to decide who gets which room, and all of them want the master bedroom.
As Sean Rad, the founder of Tinder, , Tinder calls each user’s ranking his or her “elo score.” The term comes from the world of professional chess, where elo scores are used to rank players.
As the below chart shows, meeting strangers through a dating app or at a bar is replacing contexts like school, church, and work.
They asked each couple how long they’d known each other before they started dating, and they recruited people to watch videotapes of the couples and rate each individual’s physical attractiveness.
Do acquaintances overlook physical appearance because they know each other’s personality and unique attributes?
Lo and behold, many of the ratings had changed: the students’ opinions of who was datable had been informed by time together in class.
Over time, personality had more of an impact on how desirable someone was. Their rankings reflected their personal preferences about the non-physical attributes of the other people in the class.