Names With Faces: Swipe Right Bias Explained

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Svenja, 35. Engineer. The oldest entry in my list of matches. Matched on October 3rd of 2014. Matched and never messaged. Lives 613 kilometers away now. How come – I’ll never know. She must have been within a radius of 50 kilometers at some point, since that is my maximum distance setting on Tinder. Looks like another interesting life story. Just like these similar examples, to name but a few:
Yiwen, 28, 291 kilometers away. Jana, 41, 719 kilometers away. LisBeth, 41, 256 kilometers away, Mirja, 44, 422 km away.

Each name comes with a face and key data. University, job, place of residence. Self-descriptions range from positive vibes to formal proposals. From insightful to spiteful. People are as different and unique as the sand grains of the Sahara. Nonetheless, I recognize patterns, fight prejudices, stay open-minded while valuing my own time, and get ghosted every once in a while.

But that’s a story for another day. So far, these were only matches with which I never communicated. Looking at some of these nominal matches I wonder. Why? Was I really that desperate? Did I mindlessly auto-swipe right on all profiles, as many men do? I couldn’t have possibly found all of these pictures attractive, let alone those bland profile descriptions, or lack thereof. Whatever. I once read: men tend to select after matching, while women are more selective beforehand. Seems plausible to me. Strange new culture and good old biology.

ChatGPT, “Write an interesting factoid related to my story:”

A factoid related to your story is that according to a study published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences,” men tend to swipe right more often on dating apps like Tinder, while women are more selective in their swiping. This is often referred to as the “swipe right bias” and may explain why some men have many matches with women they never message.

ChatGPT, explain the possible psychological, cultural, and biological reasons behind “swipe right bias” in more detail

The “swipe right bias” on dating apps like Tinder can be explained by a combination of psychological, cultural, and biological factors.

From a psychological perspective, men may be more likely to engage in “risky” behaviors, including indiscriminately swiping right on dating app profiles, due to a desire for novelty and excitement. Additionally, men may be more likely to engage in what is known as “socially desirable responding,” or the tendency to give responses that are viewed as socially acceptable or desirable, leading them to swipe right more often to increase their chances of matching with someone.

From a cultural perspective, societal expectations and gender norms may play a role in the “swipe right bias.” Men are often socialized to be more assertive and pursue romantic interests, which may lead them to take a more active role in seeking out potential partners on dating apps.

From a biological perspective, men may be more likely to engage in “mate-seeking” behaviors, driven by the evolutionary desire to spread their genetic material and reproduce. This may lead them to be more indiscriminate in their swiping habits, in order to increase the number of potential partners they are exposed to.

It’s also worth noting that while these explanations are general and some may apply more to some individuals than others, not all men engage in this behavior, and not all women are selective before swiping.

This article is part of my new series, Tinder Reflections. Subscribe to my newsletter to get notified when I release the next episode.

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