Most young singletons know what Tinder is, and if they don’t personally have one, then surely the thought to sign up has crossed their minds at some point. Tinder currently has 50 million users, and the number is predicted to increase. While the app may seem to be an example of pure business ingenuity, what really makes Tinder so popular may actually be due to its ability to make us all admit that when it comes to dating, good looks matter. 

The secret is out — you can stop lying. We all know that one of the most important things you look for in a potential mate is good looks. There’s no reason to deny this; it's part of your DNA. The masterminds behind Tinder aren’t the first to notice how important physical attraction is when choosing a potential mate. Evolutionary scientists have noted this human behavior for years. A 2007 study from Indiana University best laid out this basic formula for human attraction. After careful observation and mathematical calculations, the researchers concluded that for men, the most important trait in a potential mate is good looks, while for women, good looks are equally tied with the need for security.

Programmed To Love Beauty

Mother Nature also knew that if we all held out on reproducing until we found the best-looking partners, chances are that most of us wouldn’t ever end up getting lucky to pass on our precious DNA. Her solution was to give us the ability to compromise in our mate selection. Yes, our ability to settle allowed for the continuation of the human race.

“Ancestral individuals who made their mate choices in this way — women trading off their attractiveness for higher quality men and men looking for any attractive woman who will accept them — would have had an evolutionary advantage in greater numbers of successful offspring," explained lead researcher of the Indiana University study, Dr. Peter Todd, in Science Daily.

But just because we can date, marry, and have fulfilling lives with less attractive partners, doesn’t mean we don’t stop chasing after supermodels. And while eHarmony and Match.com try to lure in users with promises of math and sciences, Tinder has taken full advantage of our undying lust for physical beauty. In fact, the app has sexual selection down to an art, with most female Tinderellas spending an average of 8.5 minutes and Tinderfellas spending 7.2 minutes swiping the app up to 11 times a day, The New York Times reported. If you need some help with the math, that's an average of 90 minutes each day looking for a mate based pretty much solely on the way they look. That’s more time than they spend on Instagram and Facebook.

Silver Lining

There is a silver lining to this dog eat dog world of attraction. Funny enough, beauty actually is in the eye of the beholder. Dr. Paul W. Eastwick, an assistant professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin has backed up this age of adage with his own scientific research on Tinder. In an interview with Jezebel, Eastwick concluded that, “There isn't a consensus about who is attractive and who isn't. Someone that you think is especially attractive might not be to me. That's true with photos, too.”

 The professor also added that although all Tinderers may be essentially looking for the same thing (to make a connection with an attractive person) “there isn’t a clique, high school mentality on the site, where one group of users get the share of “like” swipes.” Thank goodness for that!

Tinder data analysts told The Times that other factors such as the individual’s style of clothing, the way they pose, the manner in which they are standing, or other subtle “signals” determine whether or not a potential mate will “swipe right or swipe left.”

At the end of the day, though, some in the scientific community laugh at the idea of a “love algorithm,” such as those promised on many online dating sites. “They are a joke, and there is no relationship scientist that takes them seriously as relationship science,” explained Dr. Eli J. Finel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, to The Times. So it seems that while these apps can put you in touch with other good-looking singletons, you may have to do the whole falling in love part on your own.