The dating app hit does not come from guaranteed success, but rather occurs when the reward – in this case, a match – is uncertain.
A Chelsea-based physiotherapist I know saw a young woman complaining of persistent pain in her index finger. Puzzled, he tried to identify what could possibly be straining it. The patient finally admitted, slightly sheepishly, to using Tinder. A lot. The prescription? Switch hands. That will be £200 pounds please… Tinder finger treated, she’s back online for Valentine’s. But just how likely are modern-day lonely hearts to find the love, or even the sex, they seek on their smartphones?
The stats are grim: despite 26 million matches made each day on Tinder alone, Pew data reveal that only five per cent of committed relationships began online. For the vast majority of users, the game itself proves to be more arousing than the other players: fewer than 10 per cent of matches are consummated with even a half-assed “hey”, as users opt to “keep playing” instead of messaging the matches already made. Nearly half of millennials surveyed admitted to using dating apps as “ego-boosting procrastination” rather than to meet people. Perhaps no surprise, then, that – far from the image of a free-love fest at the fingertips propagated by the popular press – singles are having less sex than their counterparts a generation ago, a phenomenon the study’s author, San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, attributes to the apps.
What is it about caressing a touchscreen that has become more compelling than touching another human being? Dating apps have been shown to be pathologically addictive: according to Tinder – by far the market leader – the average user logs in 11 times per day, spending about 77 minutes daily in pursuit of the neurochemical cocktail dished out each …read more
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