A flattering picture may get a man noticed - but women can spot ugly men on online dating sites just by reading their profiles.
A study by Villanova University in Philadelphia found that good-looking men were able to convey their confidence and attractiveness in their written self-description.
But less attractive men were detected without the women volunteers even seeing their pictures.
Academics asked 50 women university students to examine profiles and pictures of 100 men aged 22-25 who had posted on a dating website.
They were also asked to consider how confident and masculine a man seemed from his picture.
They were then given the written profiles of 25 different men and again asked how attractive each seemed for a date, for sex and for a long-term committed relationship.
They were also asked to rate each candidate on how kind, confident, intelligent, funny or humorous he seemed from his profile.
In the Computers in Human Behavior journal, psychologist and study leader Associate Professor Rebecca Brand said: "The overall attractiveness of the photo was positively correlated with the overall attractiveness of the text.
"In other words, those who are physically attractive also write more appealing profiles.
"In this sense, online dating does not seem to level the playing field for unattractive individuals."
- Staff reporter