When Tinder announced this week that they'll be introducing a new, long-requested "Undo" feature in their paid Plus version, we instantly thought of that poor cutie we swiped left on accidentally. Behind the psychology of the "Undo" button is the fact that social media has enabled us to make more impulsive decisions, and more of them. Unsurprisingly, these decisions are not always the best ones.
For one thing, we're beginning to get a little obsessed with our digital lives. Because these platforms give us nearly-immediate social rewards with only a tiny amount of effort on our part, it can be very difficult for us to put the phone down. I mean, why go for a run/visit Grandma/do a week's worth of bulk cooking when you know you'll feel better faster with all the likes you'll get on that brand new kitty pic on Instagram? So, it makes sense that swiping the day away would be our new obsession.
The impulsivity of those swipes also plays a role here. Although you could conceivably take as long as you want to make your swipe, the unspoken goal is often to get through as many people as possible in order to open yourself up to more potential matches. However, when we get a second to think, we often regret our decisions made in haste.
Research has shown that it can be difficult to take our "cold" and logical decision-making processes into a more reactive and "hot" situation. This gap between hot and cold thinking makes it hard for us to predict what that on-the-spot scenario feels like. It's tough to tell what we'll want when we're there if we're not really there yet, you know? Which means that if, for instance, you decide while you're not on Tinder that you'll swipe right on every person with a cute pet in their profile picture, it might be hard to stick to that once you get to swipin'.
Does that mean the entire system of Tinder sets us up to make bad date decisions? The app's undeniable popularity tells us "no." Instead, the usefulness of this decision-making process probably depends on what you're looking for. Acting impulsively can allow us to act on pure gut reactions without overthinking, which could be a good thing. And, research has shown that those impulsive decisions, usually focused on short-term benefits, can make us less sensitive to negative outcomes. So, if you're looking for quantity over quality (or, maybe quantity is quality, for you), then having Tinder without the temptation to "Undo" your moves could be better.
But, the button's true power and necessity lies in giving us the choice to choose again. Now, if you want, you can be kind and rewind. But, if you don't want to pay up to $19.99 extra for the privilege, just be nice and swipe right.