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A study has found that men looking for a long-term relationship would put pictures of pets or children on their dating profiles. Men without these pictures were more likely seeking short-term commitments.

The team published this study in Evolutionary Psychological Science. They found no differences between how women and men showed their dependents on their profile pictures.

Various evolutionary theories suggest that gender-specific strategies, interests, and preferences of mates are due to the differences in challenges each gender faces. For instance, women seem to have a higher biological investment, including gestation, lactation, a smaller number of viable ova, and metabolically costly egg production.

How researchers conducted the study 

The team created female and male accounts on an online platform in Canada. People on the platform usually discuss various aspects of themselves, including their personal lives, occupation, and family. The team used their accounts to find the opposite sex.

The team also classified participants on the platform by the type of relationship they sought, that is, short or long-term relationships. Notably, the researchers sought participants from Nova Scotia, Canada.

The team chose profiles that included pictures from the account owners. Researchers used natures scenes, stock photos, and generic photos. However, they ignored profiles that weren’t unclear on what they were searching for in a relationship and spam accounts.

Furthermore, the team evaluated the dependents the profile owners had through written messages and images. They also looked into their opinions on having children, ages, and education.

The team had collected samples of 250 men and 250 women who wanted long-term relationships and 250 men who were more interested in casual encounters. Despite the researchers sampling women who weren’t interested in long-term relationships, they only found 46 living in Nova Scotia. From this, the team concluded that women aren’t as interested in short-term dating.

Men used pets and children to indicate mate quality

The team also discovered that men would use images of their dependents to indicate their mate quality. Men who sought long-term relationships were more likely to do this. Both men and women seeking long-term partners were just as likely to have images of children.

Men searching for long-term partners were more likely than women seeking long-term partners to use pictures of their dogs and children.