How Dating Apps Reinforce Ancient Mating Patterns, According To Science

Photo: Jennifer Brister

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While 59 percent of adults agree that online dating is a good way to meet people, new research out of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland indicates that use of the app Tinder makes people revert to ancient mating habits.

The study, which focused on men and women in Scotland between the ages of 20 and 26, found that heterosexual men focus mostly on appearances as they swipe left and right, while heterosexual women make mate selections based on stability, intelligence, and career prospects.

"Our research demonstrates that we haven’t really changed in all those millennia of evolution," said lead researcher Dr. Mirjam Brady-Van den Bos. "What we’ve shown, though, is that the way people search for potential dates is in line with what evolutionary theories on human mating choices would predict."

So while dating apps may be a current, technologically advanced way to find a partner, the actual mentality people apply to making selections as they swipe right and left is far from modern. Still, a 2013 study found that one-third of people meet their husbands and wives via online dating sites and apps, so if you're searching for a long-term partner, don't hit "delete" just yet.

Just be conscious of the primal instincts these apps evoke in us. Knowledge is power!

Want to meet someone online? Here, a couples' therapist explains how to make online dating work for you.

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