This is why your split-second judgment on dating apps is actually kinda bad

While dating apps are the new normal (and we totally support them!) you have to admit there’s a big difference between spotting someone you connect with IRL and quickly swiping through hundreds of options. A new study published by Scientific Reports found a pretty unfortunate side effect to all that swiping: you might not know who you’re really attracted to.

The study took 16 female undergraduate students from the University of Sydney and presented them with 60 different men’s faces. After seeing each face for only 300 milliseconds, the participants had to deem them attractive or unattractive.

Online dating sites and apps inspired the framing of the task,” says researcher Jessica Taubert on the University of Sydney’s news blog.

By moving this quickly, researchers found that rather than objectively judging the faces, the girls’ opinions of the faces were heavily influenced by whatever face had come before. For instance, they found that participants were more likely to rate someone’s face as attractive if it followed another attractive face.

You might not expect this, which makes sense. For a while, it was believed that contrast had the biggest effect (an “ugly” face versus an attractive one) but this study determined that Tinder users move so fast that instead of discerning each individual candidate, users see them as one big blob, blending together.

This could come back to bite you IRL when you meet up with potential dates and realize that you’re not as attracted to them as you initially thought. The lesson here is not to stop using dating apps, but to slow down and take care with how we’re choosing. And, of course, to remember that looks aren’t the only thing that’s important, anyways!