Design is an aesthetic property of an object that implies its function. A door tells you how to use it by the way it looks; there’s a knob that you can push, pull or turn. And with dating apps, too, the design helps people interpret how to use it. The built-in properties of Tinder and other apps makes it easy for users to spark a conversation – but just as easy to never follow up, or “ghost” a person, explains Timmermans.
But according to a study by Norwegian University of Science and Technology, most users are mostly-just-swiping, and only 50 percent of Tinder users have actually met one or more of their matches
In her research on Tinder, Timmermans asked anonymous survey respondents about how they use the app. “Losing all contact with the person of interest has become so normalized that most of the respondents wrote that ‘ghosting is a part of online dating,’” says Timmermans.
Studies have shown that social rejection of any kind activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain (according to some studies, the pain it causes can be treated with Tylenol), which is why the “it happens” way of thinking might not work with those who experienced multiple instances of their dates going ghost. And without a mutual social network tying two strangers together, it’s become much easier to just drop everything and vanish without any consequences.
Sophia, 27, has been using Hinge and Bumble for three years, and says that for her, getting matches is easy. The hard part? “The annoying small talk.”
And going “Casper” is made easier with a seemingly bottomless list of potential matches on the apps that can make it seem as if there is always someone better than the current date. If you detect a flaw (no matter how minor) that makes you suddenly lose interest, there are still plenty of suitors awaiting in your phone.
The (Psychological) Dating Game
The bounty of dating options, complete with bright lights, loud sounds, and zippy little graphics, makes the apps feel a lot like playing a game. In fact, dating apps involve areas of the brain that make them into a kind of sport, releasing endorphins with each match or a text notification.
Since users don’t know which swipe will bring the reward of a match, apps like Tinder use a variable ratio reward schedule, which means that your matches will be best hookup apps Pueblo randomly dispersed. It’s the same reward system used in slot machines in Las Vegas, and even during animal experiments where researchers train pigeons to continuously peck at a light on the wall.
Dating sites are in the business of keeping users swiping, looking at their advertisements (on Tinder, you might accidentally swipe right on an ad), and paying monthly fees for extra features that should supposedly make finding matches easier, such as Bumble Boost (which costs up to $25 a month and adds 24 hours to the time users have to break the ice with their match).
In the midst of the swiping fever in 2015, Tinder began to limit the amount of daily right swipes to 100 for users who don’t buy into their premium service, TinderPlus (up to $30 a month). In fact, Timmermans says the number-one reason her respondents cited for why they use the apps was to “pass time.”
Sophia says that for her, swiping works as a temporary relief from self-doubt. “Sometimes when I’m drunk or in-my-feelings, I like to swipe, and it makes me feel better,” she says. “Seeing someone matched with you or sent you a compliment boosts your self-esteem, if nothing but for that short moment.”
Leave A Comment