Home Family & Relationship Men More Likely to Swipe Right But Take Longer to Decide in Online Dating, Study Finds

Men More Likely to Swipe Right But Take Longer to Decide in Online Dating, Study Finds

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Dating apps have reshaped the modern romantic landscape, but new research has uncovered significant gender differences in how men and women approach these digital matchmakers.

The research, published in Psychreg Journal of Psychology, aims to demystify the decision-making process of men and women in online dating environments. The study utilised evolutionary psychology to predict and analyse behaviours on dating apps, focusing on the time taken to make decisions and the number of positive choices made.

Contrary to popular belief, the study found that while men made more positive choices, indicating a less selective attitude, they took significantly longer to decide than women. This finding aligns with the notion that men, due to lower parental investment, tend to pursue multiple partners, whereas women are more selective due to higher parental investment.

Martin Graff, PhD, a senior lecturer at the University of Wales, shared what prompted him to investigate this area: “My motivation to carry out this study was to ascertain exactly how men and women use dating sites and apps differently. We know from an evolutionary perspective that men and women select partners differently and use different selection criteria. For example, men use appearance more in partner selection, whereas women use additional information based on the resources a partner has, or their overall prospects. We wanted to see how this might apply in an online dating context, where partner choice is far more fast-moving.”

Physical attractiveness played a key role in the study. It was hypothesised that attractiveness would have a greater impact on men’s decisions than on women’s. Surprisingly, while women increased their positive choices for highly attractive photos, men maintained similar levels of positive choices across all attractiveness levels, challenging some traditional assumptions about male preferences.

Graff further explained the implications of these findings: “In terms of selecting partners based on physical attraction, women made more what might be termed ‘rational decisions’. In other words, they were more likely to select partners who were attractive compared to those who were unattractive.

“This was not the case for men who chose more partners overall, regardless of their attractiveness levels. I also found that women were a lot quicker at making partner selections compared to men. We think that this is because men rely more on appearance in making partner choices compared to women and spend more time looking at photos of women used in the study.”

Impulsivity, as a factor, was also explored. The study employed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale to measure impulsivity’s impact on decision-making. Results showed no significant difference in impulsivity between genders but highlighted its influence on the speed and nature of decisions in online dating.

The study’s methodology involved a simulated dating site environment. Eighty heterosexual participants, students at a UK university, were presented with photographs of potential dates and asked to express their interest. The study recorded their choices and the time taken to make these decisions.

On the future of this research, Graff said: “Future plans for this research are perhaps to employ measures of perceived mate value, in order to see if this also has an influence on the partner choices made. Perceived mate value is quite simply described as the way in which we think of ourselves as potential romantic partners. It is feasible that those scoring higher on mate value would maybe select fewer mate choices in our dating simulation.”

This research offers a nuanced view of the complexities of online dating behaviour. By highlighting the differences in decision-making processes between men and women, the study sheds light on the evolutionary influences still at play in modern dating practices.

The study suggests potential avenues for further research, such as incorporating perceived mate value measurements. This could provide deeper insights into the varying decision-making processes in online dating among different age groups.

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