2016 research in the journal Cogent Psychology outlines the similarities and differences between Tinder users, users of online dating agencies, and the general population.
Researchers Karoline Gatter & Kathleen Hodkinson, both based in Austria, conducted the investigation after realising that stereotypes about the online dating community were not based on empirical data.
The study, comprised of 75 participants, aimed to learn both why users joined online dating services, and how they differ in terms of “sociability, self-esteem, and sexual permissiveness”.
No differences in motivations were found between users of Tinder and users of online dating agencies, suggesting people use the different services for the same reasons.
Users of online platforms also did not differ from the general population in terms of sociability or self-esteem.
The lack of difference is notable, as it allows findings from previous studies on online dating agencies to be extrapolated, albeit tentatively, to the user base of Tinder.
One difference was that Tinder users are significantly younger than users of other online dating agencies – this factor explained group differences in sexual permissiveness, and may explain Tinder’s reputation as a ‘hook-up app’.
Men were more likely than women to use both types of app for casual encounters, and were more sexually permissive in general – findings which both corroborate other research in this area.
The study concludes: “it is unlikely that measuring personality characteristics will reveal overall differences between users of Tinder™, dating agencies, and the general population. However, future research should focus on replicating the current findings in a larger, more representative sample, in order to support or refute this conclusion.”