Entries in smartphone applications (3)

Monday
Mar092015

The Scientific Merits of Tinder: Swipe Left or Right?

In the age of online dating, science-based information about the ins and outs of dating services is both timely and important. One digital dating app has seen tremendous rises in popularity since its release - we're speaking of course about Tinder. 

Tinder is a bare bones dating app that allows users to filter in rapid succession through photos of other users who are potential matches. Who you see in your pool of potential matches is based on a very limited set of criteria, customizable to the user – age, location, and gender. When two users mutually rate each other favorably (both swipe right), they are “matched,” which prompts the app to open a dialogue between the two users (basically a texting service within the application). The rest is left to the matched users.

Interestingly, there is no scientific research out there specifically about Tinder (we are unaware of any published scientific papers in psychology or related fields that focus on behavior on Tinder). This lack of data might be because of its novelty—Tinder was released in late 2012. The lack of research could also be due to the fact that Tinder's mainstream popularity is even more recent. Despite the lack of scientific data, however, like all things that attain mainstream popularity, Tinder has been subject to both criticism and support from the general public. 

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Wednesday
Jun122013

The Science Behind 3 Popular Dating Apps 

You have an app on your smartphone for the weather, the news, where to eat, and one just for crushing candy. So why not an app for dating? Finding people on your own at a bar probably hasn’t been terribly successful, so it may be time to let your phone help you find a little love (or perhaps lust). Let’s see how they stack up compared to the scientific literature…

1) Snapchat (iTunes)

What the App Does: Allows users to take a picture and send it to someone else. The interesting aspect of Snapchat, however, is that it allows you to set how long others are able to see your photo. Only want the other person to see the picture for 3 seconds? 10 seconds? Then you can set the timer accordingly. So why is this a dating app? Well, it has become the social media sexting app of choice because the pictures “self destruct,” leaving behind no evidence (that is, unless someone is quick enough to take a screen shot!).

What Science Says: A few seconds to view a picture (innocent or otherwise) may not seem like enough time to form an accurate judgment.

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Monday
Oct222012

If You’re In A Relationship, Is It OK To Browse Hookup Sites For “Innocent Flirting” And “Harmless” Fun?

BC submitted the following question:

Have you written much on gay hookup apps (Grindr, Scruff, etc)? I just had a lengthy discussion with my cousin on Facebook after posting my criticism of Dan Savage's latest Savage Love. In it, Savage wrote that a gay man can have a hookup app on his phone while in an exclusive relationship and just use it for chatting with friends and innocent flirting. Why would someone be active on a hookup app and, if confronted with a hot guy to hookup with, not actually hook up with them?

Dear BC;

This is a great question! Although I am not aware of any studies specifically examining how use of hookup applications impacts people’s relationships, there is plenty of research to suggest that bringing these applications into a monogamous relationship could potentially lead to trouble down the road. Thus, I don’t fully agree with Savage’s take that engaging in such behavior is completely innocent.

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