With nothing better to do in lockdown, I’m launching a major research project into personality traits and relationships in an important area where the published academic research is severely lacking. Please contribute by filling out my survey and by sending it to your friends, lovers, sworn enemies, and your mom. The survey takes ~5 minutes to complete, and has only multiple-choice or integer questions. It is completely anonymous and doesn’t collect any identifying information such as name, email, or location.
The deadline for your data being included in my analysis is Monday, May 18th. I will write up the research including the survey results later in the month. Here’s the link to the survey again if the above didn’t work: https://forms.gle/P76GtQixfBANu3jV7
Thank you for contributing to science and Putanumonit!
17 thoughts on “Please fill out my survey on personality and relationships”
What is the best way to estimate physical attractiveness? I mean, if we go off of the number of sexual partners, I’m above average, but that is overall attractiveness, not just looks.
I disagree with single-axis model of attractiveness, so I simply put my percentile by height :D
You can estimate your attractiveness by asking people who know you to fill out an anonymous survey and averaging the results. (I haven’t actually tested this)
I would suggest trying to be objective about yourself on a tradition scale of 1-10. Are you more or less attractive than most men you run into on a daily basis? If people have told you that you’re handsome, you’re almost certainly above the 60th percentile – how much above is a judgement call. If you genuinely think you’re “average”, 50-60% is probably accurate.
Remember, this is “PHYSICAL attractiveness” not “how many people find you attractive” – your overall attractiveness is influenced by your physical attractiveness, but it’s not a 1:1 correlation. There are beautiful people out there with very few, if any, sexual partners, and there are nigh-ugly people with MANY. Two different things, in the bigger picture.
The issue here is that attractiveness is inherently subjective – “the beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, after all. The most you can do here is to judge how close are you to some particular ideal of attractiveness (e.g. a movie star, a bodybuilder or a k-pop idol), but as long as you’re not doing population-wide polls, there’s no way to put a number on your physical appearance.
Attractiveness is not randomly subjective. There is a rough scale that most female opinions will line up off of.
The perhaps most objective way is to do a Tinder Self-Evaluation, but I’m sure not everyone wants to do that: https://pancakemouse.wordpress.com/2018/12/09/tinder-self-evaluation-how-do-you-stack-up-against-the-competition/
It’s subjective… to a point. To say that there’s “no way to put a number on it” implies that it’s impossible to make a reasonable/useful guess as to where you stand in comparison to others, on average. Sure, I can’t apply a universal value to my attractiveness, but I can make a useful guess. And the numbers aren’t worthless – Gal Gadot might be a 10 to some people and a 7 to others, but the number of people that would put her at a 1 is statistically insignificant. Someone that MOST people find attractive is unlikely to be hideous to anyone, and someone that most people find hideous isn’t likely to be considered breathtakingly gorgeous to anyone. Bear in mind that we’re not talking about “the total package” here – we’re saying “physically attractive”, i.e. what do people that literally know nothing about you other than what you look like think of you? What is their gut-reaction? The things that draw the eyes of men or women aren’t nearly so subjective as overall “attractiveness”.
There are certain nigh-universals that aren’t difficult to spot. Hip-to-waist ratio in women / shoulder-to-waist ratio in men. Height. Symmetry of features. Etc. Subjectivity of beauty (masculine or feminine) is grossly overstated, in many cases. Women, for example, have a nearly universal preference for a partner that is taller than them. Nearly everyone prefers a fit partner. Etc.
As a man, if you’re short, fat, and have asymmetrical features, you’re probably less than a “5”; if you’re tall, fit, and symmetrical, you’re probably more than a “6”.
I think we both agree here that people across different cultures have variable preferences as to who attracts them physically. And I would agree with you that it’s likely that certain features might provoke sexual desire for the reasons of natural selection.
However, you seem to imply that the axis on which to quantify someone’s physical attractiveness is a reaction on a wide population of people. So one could be justified in saying Jane is a “4” if, for example, he conducted a poll and Jane was in 40th percentile of attractiveness, or 40% of people indicated sexual desire, or something like that. That’s somewhat reasonable and in practice that’s what programmers do when constructing datasets for Facial Beauty Prediction software.
This approach suffers, however, when one actually has to assign a score to a real person he knows, because one doesn’t have a large diverse population to poll or a state-of-the-art facial recognition neural network. And even if he did, they don’t rate the physical attractiveness strictly speaking, but attractiveness of the photo, which can vary widely dependent on the skill of the photographer, as seen here: https://storage.googleapis.com/groundai-web-prod/media%2Fusers%2Fuser_227367%2Fproject_353315%2Fimages%2Fben_photos.png
So in practice, most people don’t use this method when assigning “numbers” to attractiveness of other people. They use proxy metrics like body parameters or face parameters. And the problem here is that it’s unclear how to quantify these things in the single number like “4”. Like, how did one arrives to that number? Surely one didn’t constructs a mathematical model with coefficients for facial symmetry and body weight. Programmers tried to to that, but these attempts were outmatched by modern deep learning neural networks (see here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1904.07435.pdf).
So what one does is consults his own neural network inside his skull for a subjective feedback. And that’s not that big of a problem as long as one is speaking strictly about one’s own subjective preference – maybe number “4” to him means “I would sleep with her once if I was on a deserted island”, and he correctly identifies this. The problem is when one tries to quantify a subjective feeling of a large population toward someone’s appearance without having any numbers to derive this number from. Numbers should come from other numbers! Otherwise it’s like writing an article about an election where one says “We didn’t do any exit polls, but based on my gut feeling, Democrats will get 67,8% on this election”. To me, that’s what it’s like to hear “She’s objectively a 7”.
Other problems with using a single number include erasure of people with a highly divisive appearance (someone who’s very attractive to a half of the population but repulsive to the other half would have a very different life to someone who’s mildly neutral to everyone), erasure of different appearance styles (for every body type one can imagine, there’s a porn subreddit), Goodhart’s law problems (when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure) and so on.
Instead of using a number, I would rather use something like a multi-dimensional clustering approach – let the software cluster the people’s appearance into different areas in the space, so that if I like short flat-chested black women, my dating app would recommend me match with other short flat-chested black women, and not with women who score “6” on some metric. Basically, that’s what Spotify does with their songs.
I think you’re just massively over-thinking this, man. Seriously – a “scale of 1-10” in this context ISN’T really a “number”. It’s a value assigned instinctively. It’s not a stock quote, or an IQ, or a credit score, it’s a sort of numeric colloquialism at best. If someone says “She’s a 9”, we generally take that to mean “she’s insanely hot, but not perfect”. If someone says “This girl was a 6”, we generally take that to mean that she’s just above average, not a crowd-stopper, but also cute enough to be worth chatting up if you’re in the mood.
For the purpose of the survey that Jacob is offering, it’s enough to estimate how attractive you are in relation to others – it’s not an exact science and isn’t pretending to be. There’s no need for a “multi-dimensional clustering approach” – it’s a best guess.
For example (and this is not a humble brag, it’s an honest effort to use my own method here): I have been told by multiple women that I am handsome. I am over 6′ tall. I am broad-shouldered (enough to have had many people comment on it) and quite muscular/strong (when people need something lifted or moved, I’m often the one they call). I have a very deep voice (one that strangers have complimented me on since I was 12). All of these things are attractive to women. When I was in better shape, I’d estimate that I was somewhere in the range of an 8, give or take a half point (I don’t have the facial symmetry, perfect teeth, etc. needed to be a 9 or 10, I don’t think). Right now, I am overweight, by at least 50 pounds. I’ve been told I carry it well, and have still had women compliment my looks, but I don’t get nearly the amount of attention that I once did. I’m probably back down to a 6.5 or so. Hard to say exactly. BUT… it’s enough for me to gauge, based the reactions of others and my own assessment of objective factors that I’m above average, but less than I have been. I don’t need a complex formula for that.
Also: “people with a highly divisive appearance (someone who’s very attractive to a half of the population but repulsive to the other half)” – Does this phenomenon even exist? I can’t think of single example.
“I think we both agree here that people across different cultures have variable preferences as to who attracts them physically”
I don’t agree with this, actually. The cultural variances that I’m aware of are minimal, or fringe, or a matter of fashion rather than passion, or relate to class-within-culture.
A classic example of the class-within-culture version: Fatness. The idea that male corpulence was considered “sexy” in times past (or still, in some parts of the world) is a myth – being fat was essentially a way to “flex” on the poor, and was a sign of social standing, but no woman ever caught an eyeful of m’lord’s ale-gut and jowls and instantly soaked her petticoats.
“Attractive as a mate” and “attractive as a sexual partner” are two very different things – if you look up “what do people from different cultures find attractive” almost EVERY example is something akin to this: a symbol of social standing or maturity that has little or nothing to do with actual sexual “attractiveness”.
Solid survey (and I especially like the opening question about the “Strongly Agree/Disagree” options). I had a bit of trouble with the “relationship status” and “what are you looking for” sections; I think there’s a substantial percentage of people “In a serious relationship” that don’t WANT to be, and aren’t “looking” for anything because they CAN’T (right now). I didn’t see a way to accurately answer so I just put “serious” and “not looking”. The question about what percentage of time you’ve been in a relationship since 18 was sobering.
It’s very difficult to get reliable information about people based on their self-reported traits. We all know toxic psychopaths who claim to be caring and virtuous, as well as lovely and sensitive people who unjustly accuse themselves of selfishness. Then you have to account for the selection bias, income, location, and countless other factors affecting the results. I see no way such online surveys could fill any existing gap in the academic literature, though I would love to be wrong about it.
By the way, it might be good to add more questions about the preferred relationship model (mono or poly), satisfaction with specific aspects of relationship (sense of security in difficult times, sexual satisfaction, sense of social success), religious and political beliefs, etc.
That opening question about extreme answers might be better if it were left to the end. It made me self-conscious about whether I was picking between the moderate/extreme options in the right proportion to make my answer to that question accurate. ;)
Also, I was highly amused at the impossibility of answering that question with the strongest agreement option.
I was confused by the “queer female” and “queer male” gender options. Do they include cis gay people, passing and/or non-passing trans people, nonbinary-ish (genderqueer) people who present as one side of the spectrum or the other?
I’m a sometimes-non-passing trans man, I picked “male”, and all of my past partners (including my current husband) started dating me while I was presenting female and identifying as “female I guess” or nonbinary. Also the attractiveness percentile I put is probably lower than it was when presenting female and higher than it would be presenting male as evaluated by the average gay or bi man. So.. sorry if I made your data weird.
I interpreted it (given the context of it being a relationship survey) as:
1. Female presenting & not interested in other Females
2. Female presenting
4. Male presenting
5. Male presenting & not interested in other Males
I hate to say it, but you’re going to have some major sampling bias issues. You’re going to have mostly rationalists, with all that implies (white/Asian men, nerdy personality types…)