If you’re striking out while online dating, you might want to see if your profile shows off your interests—and wants—in the best way possible.
A study by researchers Isabella D’Ottone and Gabrielle Pfund, and Patrick Hill, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, found that online dating profiles that clearly portrayed the user’s sense of purpose were the most sought after by those looking for a romantic partner.
The study was built off Pfund’s initial research findings that people with a higher sense of purpose had more positive romantic relationship outcomes and longevity. D’Ottone’s interests came more from the initial start of relationships.
“We were curious if there was any relationship between being interested in individuals who have a high sense of purpose,” says D’Ottone, who is a laboratory manager at the University of Miami.
“If this is a variable that is creating positive qualities between people while in relationships, there’s a potential that it’s something people seek out in a partner,” she continued.
Their findings are less about helping singles find love, though, and more about what dating apps can do to benefit their users.
“Dating app developers might want to consider adding more [purpose-led] questions into prompts because it could help direct people toward others that they might find more attractive in that sense,” Hill tells Fortune.
Still, they can be useful for those looking to build a relationship.
Hill studied how sense of purpose influences people’s lives for years, but it wasn’t until Pfund and D’Ottone joined his lab that they started looking into romantic relationships. Hill’s research recognized four main purposes:
- prosocial (goals related to helping others)
- relational (centered around familial and romantic relationships)
- financial (related to financial security)
- creative (an emphasis on expressing originality or creativity) orientations
The four purpose categories were used as a basis for making pseudo dating profiles. D’Ottone says the process of writing—and rewriting—profiles was long, as she and Pfund wrote biographies and filled in fake prompts to mimic the look of real dating profiles.
“So many of our materials in psychology come off as unrealistic, so there was time spent asking, ‘Is this actually what people say in their profiles? Is this how people write…