Using Tinder Despite Being Committed Linked To Dark Personality Traits

In a new study from Erasmus University Rotterdam, people who used Tinder when in a committed relationship were found to score higher on traits like psychopathy and lower on traits like agreeableness.

The study titled "Why are you cheating on tinder? Exploring users' motives and (dark) personality traits" was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

The researcher team surveyed nearly 1,500 users of the dating app who were asked questions about their motives for using the app and their experiences with it. More than 300 participants (a little over 22 percent) said they were using the app despite being in a committed relationship. 

When asked about their motivation to do so, many reported peer influence at higher scores compared to single users. This included general curiosity and perhaps, being influenced by the increasing normalization and omnipresence of dating apps today.

According to study author Elisabeth Timmermans, both single users and partnered users were equally likely to use the app for an ego-boost. Many researchers have noted this tendency of swiping through people, not to look for relationships, but as a form of "confidence-boosting procrastination" i.e. a confirmation that one is still attractive.

Moving on from their specific motivation, the research team also looked at whether partnered users and single users displayed any differences in personality.

"Partnered Tinder users reported lower scores on agreeableness and conscientiousness and higher scores on neuroticism and psychopathy compared to people in a committed relationship who did not use a dating app," Timmermans said.

"Interestingly, partnered Tinder users with a higher score on psychopathy were also more likely to use Tinder for casual sex and reported a higher number of one night stands with other dating app users."

But the findings were labeled as being "too preliminary" for now, given the limitations in the methodology. It was not known if the reported outcomes occurred during the period of the committed relationship and factors such as the length of relationships were not accounted for.

When examining demographics, a 2015 report published by GlobalWebIndex found the 16-34 age group dominated the user base of Tinder. While male users were found to outnumber female users, the researchers also noted a noticeable portion of them were not single.

On the other hand, Tinder CEO Sean Rad has countered the idea of the app serving exclusively as a hook-up platform and labeling it as more of a "social discovery" platform. For instance, it could be a quick and easy way to simply meet new people after traveling to another country.

But Timmermans is still interested in conducting further study on the subject, especially to figure out if dating apps present a threat to romantic relationships. Given that the new study could only look at associations, it is not clear whether dating apps themselves influence unfaithful behavior