A Rejection Mindset: Selection Overload in Internet Dating

Article Information

Tila M. Pronk is Assistant Professor at Tilburg University. Her work centers on intimate relationships. For instance, she studies (online) dating and forgiveness, as well whilst the impact of individual distinctions like self-control on relationships.

Jaap J. A. Denissen is Professor at Tilburg University. Their work is targeted on the user interface between character therapy, social therapy, and psychology that is developmental. Broadly, he studies transactions between people and their environment.

Managing Editor: Vivian Zyas

Tila M. Pronk, Tilburg University, Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 225, 5037 DB Tilburg, holland. E-mail: email protected


The paradox of contemporary relationship is the fact that online platforms offer more possibilities to look for a partner that is romantic in the past, but individuals are however prone to be solitary. We hypothesized the existence of a rejection mindset: The continued use of practically limitless possible lovers makes people more pessimistic and rejecting. Across three studies, individuals straight away began to reject more hypothetical and real lovers whenever dating online, cumulating on average in a decrease of 27per cent in opportunity on acceptance through the very first into the final partner choice. This is explained by a general decrease in satisfaction with photos and sensed dating success. For ladies, the rejection mindset additionally led to a likelihood that is decreasing of intimate matches. Our findings declare that individuals slowly “close down” from mating possibilities whenever dating that is online.

The landscape that is dating changed drastically in the last ten years, with an increase of and more folks searching for a partner online (Hobbs, Owen, & Gerber, 2017). Folks have never had the oppertunity to choose partners among this kind of enormous pool of choices. For example, the 10 million active day-to-day users for the popular internet dating application Tinder are an average of presented with 140 partner choices each and every day (Smith, 2018). While it’s possible to expect this extreme upsurge in mating opportunities to bring about an ever-increasing amount of intimate relationships, the alternative has happened: The rise of internet dating coincided with a rise in the quantity of singles in culture (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, 2019; Copen, Daniels, Vespa, & Mosher, 2012; DePaulo, 2017). Just What could explain this paradox in contemporary dating?

The abundance of preference in online dating sites is amongst the important aspects which describes its success (Lenton & Stewart, 2008). Individuals like having many choices to pick from, in addition to probability of finding an alternative that matches someone’s preference that is individual logically increase with an increase of option (Lancaster, 1990; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008). Nevertheless, having choice that is extensive have different undesireable effects, such as for instance paralysis (in other words., perhaps perhaps not making any choice at all) and reduced satisfaction (Iyengar & Lepper, 2000; Scheibehenne, Greifeneder, & Todd, 2010; Schwartz, 2004). In reality, it would appear that individuals generally experience less advantages whenever they will have more option. This observation is similar to the fundamental economic principle of diminishing returns (Brue, 1993; Shephard & Fare, 1974), by which each device this is certainly sequentially put into the production procedure leads to less earnings.

There was some evidence that is indirect having more option when you look at the domain of dating also offers negative effects. As an example, when expected to choose the partner that is best, usage of more partner pages led to more re re searching, additional time used on assessing bad option choices, and a diminished possibility of picking the possibility utilizing the most readily useful personal fit (Wu & Chiou, 2009). Likewise, whenever a selection set increases, individuals find yourself being less content with their ultimate partner option and prone to reverse their choice (D’Angelo & Toma, 2017). The negative effects of choice overload may also be mentioned in articles in popular media mentioning phenomena such as “Tinder weakness” (Beck, 2016) or burnout that is“dating (Blair, 2017).

To shed more light in the paradoxical ramifications of modern relationship, we learned what are the results once individuals enter a dating environment that is online. Our design that is innovative allowed to see just how people’s partner alternatives unfold when individuals are given partner options sequentially—as in opposition to simultaneously (D’Angelo & Toma, 2017; Wu & Chiou, 2009). Our primary expectation ended up being that online dating sites will set a rejection mind-set off, leading ldssingles individuals to be increasingly very likely to reject lovers to your degree they’ve been presented with an increase of choices. Secondly, we explored the relevant concern of timing: exactly exactly How quickly will the rejection mindset kick in? We didn’t have a priori theory about what a choice that is ideal could be but alternatively explored a possible “break point” into the propensity to reject. 3rd, we tested which mental processes may take into account improvement in mating decisions.

The Present Analysis

We tested the presence of a rejection mindset in online dating sites across three studies. In research 1, we introduced people who have images of hypothetical lovers, to try if so when people’s choice that is general would alter. In learn 2, we introduced individuals with photos of lovers that have been really available and tested the gradual growth of their option habits along with their rate of success when it comes to shared interest (i.e., fits). In research 3, we explored possible underlying emotional mechanisms. Especially, as well as in line with option overload literary works, we explored whether or not the rejection mindset can be as a result of individuals experiencing reduced option satisfaction much less success during the period of online dating sites. Being a goal that is additional we explored the possibility moderating part of sex. In most studies, we dedicated to individuals between 18 and three decades old—a group that comprises 79% of most users of internet dating applications (Smith, 2018).


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