Your Profile Picture Is Too Close Up
Every online service practically demands that you have a close-up photo of your own face on your profile, if only to assure people that you're a real human being and not a penis-extender-hawking robot. The unfortunate truth is that not only do those close-ups show your blemishes in all of their hideous glory, but they also make you look less trustworthy and less attractive.
Researchers at Caltech performed several experiments measuring the relationship between proximity and likability. In one, they had volunteers judge photographs of people who were either 2 feet or 7 feet from the camera -- the same people, the same expression, the same clothes, and the same general aura of "This better not turn out to be a porn audition ... again." They found that the participants disliked the subjects more the closer they got to the camera. And it wasn't skewed by subtle differences in the photos. In another experiment, they merely warped a person's picture so that it seemed like he was closer to the camera:
If you look rapidly back and forth between the two photos, it will make you puke.
It's the exact same photo, slightly tweaked to make the man on the left seem closer to the viewer, and even then, people still believed that the man in the altered photo was less trustworthy, less attractive, and less competent, and probably smelled like diapers, too. It's a lot of dislike just from a straight-up profile shot, is what we're saying.
Researchers believe this has something to do with how our brain handles personal space. Even if it's just a picture, your subconscious doesn't like it when someone's standing too close to you, getting their mouth-air all up in your me-bubble. On some deep, stupid, primal level, our brain treats people in close-up photos like close-talkers, and shuns them accordingly -- or hey, maybe we just like people we perceive as farther away because it's less likely they'll hit us up for money or talk to us about politics.
Shit, that's her "We have to talk" face. Run!