One second, if that, is all that users give to deciding whether or not that image appeals to them.

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And Jessica Carbino, a Ph D candidate at UCLA studying online dating, found that 81% of participants lied in their online dating profiles, most commonly about weight, height and age, in order to attract mates.

Relying on attractiveness to evaluate strangers may be inherent to our biology.

“It’s an innate thing that people do,” dating expert Carbino says. “In the end, a physical connection is essential for any relationship.” No surprise there.

Justin Mateen, co-founder and CMO of the hot-or-not app Tinder says that his app “emulates the real world.

The first thing that you notice about someone is their physical appearance.” Mateen adds that Tinder has led to at least 50 marriage proposals.

And even users of sites like or JDate—more commitment-heavy dating sites requiring higher investments of both time and money—find that attractiveness plays a key role in finding a date.

New York media strategist Amy Webb proved that point when she described in her book how she gamed the online dating system by adjusting physical features (such as whether her hair was curly or straight) and narrowing down to very specific features in a mate (physical and emotional) to find a husband; soon after employing her new methods, she was married.

The free app pairs two users based on age, location and common interests.

The two can then start a conversation and, if all goes well, eventually choose to “reveal themselves” to the other person and un-blur their photo.

“Other dating apps are superficial: you’re judging the person too quickly based on looks and not getting into a conversation,” says Rohit Signal, one of the founders of Twine.

“That superficial matching is not resulting in long-term relationships.” MORE: Online Dating: Women Want Younger Men Even so, departing from superficial assessments may be a hard sell when it comes to match-making apps; after all, first impressions, even in person, are almost entirely based on quick assessments of attractiveness.