Say what you want about Tinder and its users, but aside from giving people a way to hook up, the app is giving researchers a whole new way to look at human behavior. A new study published in Personality and Individual Differences looked at what sort of motivations push people to use the matchmaking app. One of the most common? According to researcher Barış Sevi from Turkey's Koç University, people on Tinder have a lower level of sexual disgust and higher sociosexuality are more likely to take to the app to look for a hookup.
What is sexual disgust? Sevi explained to PsyToday that "people with a lower sensitivity to sexual digest said things such as 'hearing two people having sex' did not perturb them." As for sociosexuality, it has to do with "uncommitted and unrestrictive sexual activity." For example, people with high sociosexuality don't necessarily correlate love and sex. One without the other is just fine. If the two happen to coalesce, sure, that's great.
"Our main finding is that people's sexual disgust levels and their orientation towards casual sex predict their motivation to use Tinder for casual sex," Sevi told PsyToday. "But I believe the takeaway message from our research is that disgust — one of the six primary emotions that have evolved billions of years ago — can still affect our motivations to use a smartphone application. This is a very compelling finding to show that the evolutionary theories have explanatory power even in today’s technological lifestyle."
Researchers connect disgust with the evolutionary need to avoid contamination and germs, which could have led to death for our hunting and gathering ancestors. Researchers have also connected sexual disgust with morality. Basically, scientists linked emotions and evolution to smartphone activity. People who can disassociate sex from its moral trappings are more likely to hook up on Tinder.
However, Sevi explains that it's not an instance of causation, just correlation. That means that there can't be a direct conclusion drawn from people who have lower levels of sexual disgust. Sevi notes that more research is already in the works and is optimistic that there will be plenty of opportunities to look at human behavior and social networks.
"Our results are only correlational, therefore it's not possible to speak of any causal relationships," Sevi told PsyToday. "We need experimental work to to explore the causal relations that underlie motivations to use Tinder."
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