Tinder, the mobile dating app, is widely used for meeting potential dating partners, but little research has investigated the dating experiences of users. In two studies, we applied the approach-avoidance theory of social motivation to understand the association between people's goals for Tinder use and their perceived and actual dating success. In Study 1 we found that higher approach goals for using Tinder, such as to develop intimate relationships, were associated with more positive beliefs about people on Tinder, and in turn, associated with reporting greater perceived dating success, initiating more conversations on Tinder, and going on more second dates with people from Tinder. In contrast, people who had higher avoidance goals when using Tinder, such as aiming to avoid embarrassment, reported feeling more anxious when using Tinder and in turn, perceived less dating success and reported fewer second dates. In Study 2—a preregistered replication of Study 1—we largely replicated the effects from Study 1. Additional analyses in both studies revealed that the results were not accounted for by attractiveness of the user and were consistent between men and women, but differed based on the age of the user. The associations between approach goals and dating success were stronger for younger, compared to older users and the association between avoidance goals and dating success were stronger for older, compared to younger, users. The findings have implications for understanding the role of motivation in dating success on Tinder and reveal novel mechanisms for the associations between dating goals and dating success.


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pp. 93-104
Launched on MUSE
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