Tinder users perceived as less trustworthy, study finds

People tend to view Tinder users as untrustworthy, according to new research from Germany. But the study in Computers in Human Behavior suggests that this anti-Tinder effect wears off over time.

Though research has indicated that Tinder isn’t primarily used for casual sex, the dating platform still has a reputation as a “hook-up” app. The researchers behind the new study were interested in whether “being associated with an online dating platform with such a reputation might have an impact on how an individual is socially perceived.”

For their study, the researchers compared Tinder users to the users of another dating platform, called Parship. Facebook users were also included as a control condition.

An initial online survey of 223 participants found that Tinder users were rated as less trustworthy than Parship users, who in turn were rated as less trustworthy than Facebook users.

The researchers then had another 108 participants view purportedly real profiles of Tinder, Parship, and Facebook users and rate how trustworthy they perceived them to be. Replicating the previous results, the researchers found that individuals featured on Tinder profiles were considered less trustworthy than individuals featured on Parship and Facebook profiles.

“Our results converge with previous studies showing that individuals form rapid and effortless impressions about other individuals on the basis of minimal information,” the researchers wrote. However, they were interested in whether these first impressions would persist over time.

In two more studies, with 308 participants in total, the researchers examined whether the effect would be diluted after a short or long interval.

When there was a relatively short interval between viewing the profiles and the trustworthiness ratings, Tinder users were still rated as less trustworthy than Facebook users. But when there was 10-minute distraction between viewing the profiles and the trustworthiness ratings, Tinder users were not rated as significantly more or less trustworthy.

After the long interval, “the differences between the three online platforms were diluted and non-significant, clearly showing a temporal boundary condition of the adverse Tinder-effect,” the researchers explained.

The study — like all research — includes some limitations. For instance, the participants were entirely comprised of German university students, which could limit the generalizability of the findings.

The study, “The Tinder stamp: Perceived trustworthiness of online daters and its persistence in neutral contexts“, was authored by Rita R. Silva, Marie-Luise Koch, Kyra Rickers, Gabriel Kreuzer, and Sascha Topolinski.

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