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Study: Non-Single Tinder Users Could Be Psychopaths

Across 190 countries approximately 50 million people swipe left and right on the dating platform Tinder. However, not all are in pursuit of immaculate love. Surveys indicate that between 18 and 25 percent of users are already in a “committed” relationship. In the United States, that percentage jumps to 42. Now, a new study shows that these “non-single” Tinder users are quite different from single users — and not just because they are already dating someone.

The research shows the person you’re hooking up with on Tinder could be a psychopath. The Dutch study found that almost one-in-four people on the dating app are already in a committed relationship, and those people are more likely to be psychopaths than single users. The study’s lead author, Elisabeth Timmermans, says non-single people who were also on Tinder reported higher scores on neuroticism and psychopathy than non-single people who were not on Tinder. They also reported more casual hookups than single users. The study suggests people with those personality traits might be more susceptible to using dating apps for infidelity purposes.

In their paper published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, the experts in psychology and communication studies found that people who cheat on Tinder have different motives for using the app, as well as more psychopathic personality traits compared to other people in committed relationships who don’t use Tinder.

During the experiment conducted at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Netherlands, researchers surveyed 1,486 Tinder users and found that almost a quarter of them already have romantic partners, and more than half of those users had used the app to meet someone.

Timmermans, a PhD student at Erasmus University, told PsyPost that partnered 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.”

For now, Timmermans concludes that her findings “suggest that some people (i.e., with certain personality traits) might be more susceptible to using dating apps for infidelity purposes than others.”

Psychopaths may have very different motivations for their romantic relationships than other people. They are driven by power and their ego, so a healthy relationship with someone who scores highly on the Hare test for psychopathy is unlikely.

“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.”

Overall, higher scores on psychopathy and Machiavellianism were significantly linked with a sexual motive and with using Tinder for an ego boost.

“Our findings leave me wondering whether dating apps might be a threat to romantic relationships,” said Timmermans. “Of course our findings are too preliminary to make such conclusions, but they already suggest that some people (i.e., with certain personality traits) might be more susceptible to using dating apps for infidelity purposes than others.”

Joan Swart, PsyD

Joan Swart, PsyD

Forensic Psychologist | Business Developer at Open Forest LLC
Joan is a forensic psychologist, lecturer, and author of “Treating Adolescents with Family-Based Mindfulness” published by Springer in 2015 and “Homicide: A Forensic Psychology Casebook” published by CRC Press in 2016. She is a business developer at Open Forest LLC. Open Forest LLC provides online psychoeducation and self-help programs aimed at improving many conditions, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and mindfulness.
Joan Swart, PsyD

@ForensicPsychDr

Forensic psychologist, #narcissist, #psychopath, other PDs | Business developer at https://t.co/KDl12htq5n | #pug lover | masters #powerlifting
https://t.co/XJ5oGfUGxB - 11 months ago
Joan Swart, PsyD
Joan Swart, PsyD

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