Dating habits remain unchanged, study suggests

Elizabeth Harasym
Science & Tech Editor

The dating application Tinder has skyrocketed in popularity amongst the younger generation often labeled “millennials.”

The premise of the app consists of either swiping left or right on profiles of men and women, which provide photos and possibly a small description of the user or what he or she is looking to find in a potential mate. If a profile appears appealing, one can swipe right on the potential candidate, meaning he or she is interested.

If two people swipe right on one another, they “match” and can then begin messaging.

The appeal for one profile versus another among those who use the app and the question of whether singles market themselves differently today caught the attention of associate professor of psychology at The University, Barry X. Kuhle, Ph. D. Kuhle performed a research study using the Tinder app in order to find if personal ads and lonely-hearts ads used in the past have retained their patterns in today’s dating market.

Kuhle and his fellow researchers hypothesized that those using the Tinder app market themselves in the same manner as those marketed themselves in old-fashioned personal ads and lonely-hearts ads.

Lonely-hearts ads first appeared in newspapers as early as the 17th century and included a description of the individual seeking a mate and what was desired in the hopeful partner. The researchers of the study analyzed these types of newspaper ads in order to compare them to Tinder profiles.

Using fake Tinder profiles, the research team then rated profile photos based on physical appearance of the user and humor of the photos. Biographies were also analyzed by word count, traits sought, traits advertised and future relationship goals.
Kuhle and his research assistants found after their analysis that one quarter of all profiles viewed had no bios written and solely presented photos.

Often, those bios that were written consisted of very minimal words. In addition, women tended to have more detailed and specific bios than men. Also, a higher percentage of women had more photos than men, supporting the idea that women advertised themselves more than men.

Kuhle observed that the subjects of men’s bios differed in content than the subjects of women’s bios. Men were more forward in their desires to have hook-ups over relationships.

Based on the findings of the research, Kuhle and his fellow researchers concluded that the mechanism by which people seek potential partners may have changed over time. The way in which people advertise themselves and the traits that they seek, however, have not changed.

Therefore, the trends for finding love centuries ago have appeared to continue in the realms of today’s dating world.