The way both sexes find partners on dating app Tinder conforms to classical evolutionary psychology, a study has found.
Tinder is a dating app which presents users with a stream of potential partners – providing short biographies and a selection of pictures.
Users can swipe these pictures left to say ‘no’ to someone and swipe right to say ‘yes’ – if two people say ‘yes’ to each other, they’re considered to have matched and are able to talk and arrange a date.
Men are typically driven to swipe right on better looking partners, while women focus on intelligence and stability, the findings suggest, in accordance with the main theories of mate selection in evolutionary psychology.
While critics of online dating have claimed it is damaging relationships, making them more fragmentary and short-term, researchers say that the “McDonaldisation” of dating is actually more true to humanity’s basic instincts.
Dr Mirjam Brady-Van den Bos, from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Psychology, said: “Our research demonstrates that we haven’t really changed in all those millennia of evolution.
“Tinder is seen as a sophisticated but artificial way of meeting prospective partners.
“What we’ve shown though is that the way people search for potential dates is in line with what evolutionary theories on human mating choices would predict.”
The team of psychologists recruited participants between the ages of 20 and 26 in north-east Scotland.
Their research highlighted key differences in the way that men and women used the app.
“Accepting that this ‘McDonaldisation’ of romantic partners mirrors real life is hard – but it does,” said Dr Brady-Van den Bos. “People are reverting to human nature much more than they realise.”
The research will be presented at the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science next month.