We’re only now starting to understand how dating apps rewire our brains and affect our sense of self.
In a 2016 study presented to the annual American Psychological Association conference, Tinder users reported less satisfaction with their bodies and looks, compared with non-users. For this study, 1,044 women and 273 men participated, and the results were a little depressing: Body dissatisfaction, body shame and body monitoring were higher among people who actively used Tinder. Male users were more susceptible to these feelings and reported lower self-esteem as opposed to before using the app. All users of dating apps were susceptible to feeling “depersonalized and disposable in their social interactions” and believing “that there is always something better around the corner,” according to the study.
A high volume of consistent rejection can become a theme with dating apps, especially for heterosexual men. One study pinned the match rate for straight male profiles at 0.6 percent (for women, it was a little over 10 percent).
Regardless of gender, the odds of finding a good match on dating apps seem to be stacked against you. Worse yet, dating apps can make you feel bad about yourself if you’re not careful. It’s important to remember this, because when you’re tantalized by the slot machine of potential mates a dating app seems to promise, your brain starts doing weird things to you.