Study cautions against the effects of the 'infinite swipe' in dating apps

David Murphy
The JigTalk app

30 per cent of dating app users are spending over seven hours per week trying to find a match, with 14 per cent swiping for over 14 hours, according to a study commissioned by dating app, JigTalk.

The research, which questioned 1,000 dating app users, found that men spend more time trying to find a date than their opposite sex, with 34 per cent swiping for over an hour each day compared with 27 per cent of women.

JigTalk CEO Alex Durrant said he believes endlessly swiping through thousands of faces in less than a second each has harmful effects on the ability to spot potential partners. He said he is releasing the figures to highlight the growing dependency on rating partners by looks alone, rather than by personality – a trait voiced by females as more important than visual attraction.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr. Richard Graham said: “The rise of dating apps has given rise to a new user phenomenon: the ‘infinite swipe’”. (After the ‘infinite scroll’ feature designed by former Mozilla engineer Aza Raskin in 2006 and later adopted by Google and Facebook.) “Just as other tech platforms such as Facebook and Google have adopted the persuasive design feature of infinite scroll, to engage the user in habit forming experiences, dating apps have leveraged the power of the ‘infinite swipe’.

“Users are ‘nudged’ to process the face of a potential match in less than a second, with little or no context on the person’s personality. Whilst love at first sight can happen in a moment, this gamification of such an important life search is potentially demeaning to all."

Despite 76 per cent of users matching with over 30 potential dates each month, only 22 per cent have had more than 10 conversations, which results in a severe effect on success rates – 23 per cent of women revealed they hadn’t been on a single date in the past six months.

Durrant commented: “Dating apps have led to hundreds of thousands of marriages and partnerships across the world, but we must use them as messaging platforms to make conversations on, rather than just photo-sharing apps.”

JigTalk, which compiled the research, centres on getting singles to talk more and swipe less. The app, which launched in January, aims to incentivise conversation by initially covering users faces in puzzle pieces. These are removed piece by piece the more the users talk to each other. JigTalkers have to send eight messages each to completely unveil their match’s face.

Durrant continued, “Getting to know a potential partner’s personality is key to finding love. It’s an innate need which goes hand in hand with visual attraction. You wouldn’t meet someone in a bar and not talk to them, so it’s crazy why we do this on dating apps! If you swipe less and talk more, you’ll date better, it’s that simple.”