Online Dating Is Overloading the Human Brain

Fellow lovers, we know the struggle. You’ve put yourself out there and you haven’t found your match. You’re not alone because all your friends have the same complaints. We’ve become curious about how technology is changing the way our brains process love. Researchers currently have a lot to say about the swipe culture we inhabit. Do we really understand the implications?

Swipe right for confusion

It is important to note that online dating is a relatively new phenomenon and the effects it has on the brain are still being studied. But already, there’s reason for alarm. Consider the following:

  • Online dating can lead to what is known as “shopping behavior” or “choice overload.” This occurs when people have too many options to choose from and struggle to make a decision, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction with their choices. 
  • The ease of access to information about potential partners can lead to decision-making based on superficial characteristics, such as physical appearance, rather than more meaningful traits.
  • It provides too much instant gratification. People can quickly and easily access potential partners, leading to a lack of commitment and a decrease in the value placed on long-term relationships.

Too many fish in the digital sea

Perhaps the stats won’t surprise anyone: The rate of marriage has been declining in the United States over the past several decades. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the marriage rate in the country has fallen from a high of around 90 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women in the 1950s to just over 30 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women in recent years. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this trend, including changes in attitudes toward marriage, increased opportunities for women, and a decrease in religious and cultural pressures to get hitched. There’s no denying any of that. But when you think about it, there’s got to be more to the story. The addictive swiping probably doesn’t help!

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