Swiping Right

10 years ago, I can say with utmost confidence that if you told people that sometime in the future there will be an online dating app (assuming they know what apps are) that matches you with people simply by swiping left or swiping right they would most likely think you are out of your mind. How can one judge their compatibility with a complete stranger based on a 500 word description of themselves and 4 photos? This is speed and online dating at its finest, if it can even count as “dating”.

According to a LA Times article, dating websites have hired psychologists to determine what types of personalities ‘click’, elements potential members would look for in a match. Based on this research, 8-minute long personality test are developed for users to complete to find matches. Many use online dating sites as a way of finding their life partner thus it is important that the results of their profile is as true to themselves as possible.

Dating has always been based, in many ways, on a variation of a personality test. Two people come together and try to probe the other person’s interests, hobbies, view on Donald Trump through more or less a form of interview. They come up with a personality judgment based on what they find during the duration of the date and figure out whether or not they are interested in pursuing the relationship further. Based on the same principle, online dating matches individuals based on their self-reports of who they are.

The question still remains: how can we determine whether these dating sites are valid in terms of accurately concluding your personality profile? Are the questions truly indicative of who you are as a person? Does it get down to the core values of oneself and make relevant and valid matches to another person? Whether or not the dating site itself is valid in finding the perfect match is secondary to whether the website can truly assess reliably someone’s personality. This all comes down to that 8-minute personality test.

As we say that looks don’t matter, “clicking” is a matter of personality compatibility — how is that assessed on Tinder? There is no possible way to see whether there is “chemistry” between the two people — unless you swipe right. You judge matches based on their photos and if they intrigue you (aka look attractive enough) then you may click and read their brief “About Me” (which they rarely fill with anything of significance). If they are a “good match”, swipe right — if not, then left. Compatibility of the two people can’t be decided unless some type of conversation is initiated between them. There is a parallel between the superficiality of Tinder and validity of personality testing on dating websites — it is as accurate as the person constructing their profile.

While filling out the profile on Tinder, the best photos are chosen and the most witty responses are given in dialogue between the matches. Countless thoughts and considerations are put in a carefully constructed persona. When someone fills out the personality test of a dating website, as truthful as they may try to be they inherently fill it idealistically to fit their “ideal self”.

Even when dating apps and websites may be reliable in assessing compatibility through personality. The validity of online dating is only as valid as the individual’s honesty in answering and filling out their profile — regardless of accuracy of the website itself. Swiping right doesn’t mean you found your true love.


Student Number: 260579502

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