Are people using dating apps for the ego boost?
By Joe Harker
In the modern world love, or lust, takes many forms. Meeting new people can be difficult and dating apps offer a platform for those who want to meet others who have similar intentions.
A few pictures, a bit of a description and you're good to go. However, there are some who use the apps for the ego boost that comes with being liked by other people. Rather than wanting to communicate with others and get a date they're happy to be there and enjoy the benefits that come from the approval of others.
Writing for the BBC, Lucy Vine explains that she's on dating apps but not looking for a date. The good feeling of getting a match with someone is the objective. Vine mentions a survey that suggested almost half the millennial generation are on dating apps as part of "confidence boosting procrastination". People are on the apps because it feels good to match with someone or be told someone likes you, not because they actually want to set up a date.
It's not just women who swipe for the ego boost, as the Daily Mail reports men are even less likely to message after swiping right. In a study on Tinder activity only around seven per cent of men sent a message after a match while 21 per cent of women attempted to make contact. Two thirds of messages from men were sent within five minutes of the match, whereas women tended to take more time.
People might gain some "healthy self esteem" from being on dating apps to receive the approval of others. It's good to feel attractive and desired by others and a person might just want to get some validation they don't normally receive. However, it might not work in the long term as self esteem gained is reliant on "external validation" that won't last forever.
Dating apps are addictive and are designed to be so. Getting the notification that someone likes you or you've got a match activates the pleasure centres in the brain in a similar manner to eating chocolate or taking cocaine.
The average Tinder user visits the app 11 times a day and spends 77 minutes a day swiping through profiles. The brain releases dopamine in anticipation of the reward, not the reward itself, meaning apps that encourage swiping can be hugely enjoyable.
It has been compared to a gambling addiction, with some suggesting dating apps have a similar effect on the brain to slot machines. The validation that comes with getting a match leaves them wanting more.