These past few decades, social sciences such as psychology and sociology have delved more and more into the mysterious world of online dating. And clearly, that makes a lot of sense—according to the statistical data provided by the Pew Research Center, 48% of young American adults aged 18 to 29 claim to have used online dating sites at least once in their lives. Moreover, 54% of the respondents thought that relationships that begin on a dating site or app are just as successful as those that begin in person. So yeah, this whole online dating thing is pretty serious.
Most would probably agree that one of the central parts of any dating profile is the photos a person decides to upload. When you think about it, that’s pretty much all people see. You should try your best to make a good impression, right? But how do you even do that? What kind of photos should you put on your dating profile?
These two scientists named Lori Kogan and Shelly Volsch were also interested in that. And they chose a quite unique angle to conduct research around. Basically, they wanted to investigate whether the presence of a cat in a photo changes a woman’s perception of a man.
According to many studies conducted before this one, women view pet owners as more attractive and dateable than non-pet owners. Because of that, Lori Kogan and Shelly Volsch hypothesized that men posing with cats would be more attractive than those posing alone. Above and below, you can see two sets of photos that were used in this study.
These sets of photos were shown to 708 young women aged 18 to 24 and they were asked to imagine and rate these guys’ personality traits, attractiveness, dateability, and so on.
Image credits: Pixabay
To scientists’ surprise, the results indicated that men holding a cat were rated as less masculine, higher on neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness and ultimately, less dateable in the short or long term!
Image credits: Pikrepo
When a photo of one of the subjects without a cat was shown to the respondents, 38% of women said they were likely or very likely to casually date him. But when the photo of the same subject with a cat was presented, those numbers dropped to 33% for each category! Besides, the proportion of women saying they’d never consider getting involved with him rose by 5%.
Image credits: Flickr
“It is important to note that these findings were influenced by whether the female viewer self-identified as a ‘dog’ or ‘cat’ person, suggesting that American culture has distinguished ‘cat men’ as less masculine, perhaps creating a cultural preference for ‘dog men’ among most heterosexual women in the studied age group,” the researchers wrote.
Lori Kogan and Shelly Volsch ended their article by providing guides for future research: “A follow-up study with a third comparative photo of a man with a dog could serve to further test the impact of pets by looking across species. For example, would women find the man alone more or less masculine than a man with a dog? Further, what role would the size/breed of the dog play inthese perceptions?”