2019 research published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science has considered the different motivations users have for joining Tinder.
The study concerned three research questions. The first investigated whether Tinder users differ from non-Tinder users in their levels of sexual disgust, the second whether sexual disgust levels could predict use of Tinder for casual sex, and the third whether males and females differed on these measures.
271 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers were questioned, 182 of which were Tinder users. The study found that Tinder users do indeed have lower sexual disgust sensitivity vis-a-vis non-Tinder users.
They are also less risk averse in general, being more likely to drive without a seatbelt (for example).
Further, taking risks and having low sexual disgust were found to be predictive of wanting to use Tinder for casual sex. There was some gender variation here – the link between risk taking and Tinder use was more prominent among female participants.
The study helps to advance the conversation around Tinder’s link to promiscuity – it may be the case that swipe-based dating apps encourage promiscuity, or it may be the case that promiscuous people gravitate towards swipe-based dating apps (alternatively, there may be some feedback effect and both explanations may be relevant).
Author Barış Sevi explained some of the study’s limitations to PsyPost: “The two potential limitations are generalizability and causality issues. In this study, only an American sample was used, but Tinder is used all over the world.
“Future studies should investigate if there are any cross-cultural differences.”
A recent study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found support for the notion that the link between Tinder and promiscuity was caused by promiscuous individuals downloading the app, and not by any behavioural change it causes.
Find the research here.