Decision making under uncertainty: factors influencing mate selection in a dating application simulation

Semchenko, Ayten Yeşim
Human social intentions are heavily influenced by their perceptions of others. In this study, the effect of perceived attractiveness is of particular interest. The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of perceived attractiveness on the likelihood of wanting to have sex and the likelihood of using condom among dating application users. In real dating application environments, there would be many uncontrolled variables (e.g., age, not/having common friends etc.) related to the profiles that the participants will see. To have more experimental control, the dating application simulation, named as ImeetU, was developed for this study by using Unity3D. Fake profiles are created with the face photos which were rated in terms of attractiveness, trustworthiness, promiscuity and interest in a long-term (committed) relationships via two pre-studies (n1=64, n2=61, respectively). The pre-studies were conducted online while the main study (n3=39) was conducted at the Cognitive Science Department, Middle East Technical University, Ankara. The participants were not informed that the profiles that they will see on ImeetU are not real. The first finding of the main study was that perceived attractiveness of the matched partner significantly affects the likelihood of wanting to have sex for the participants of both genders. Higher/lower likelihood of wanting to have sex was observed with higher/lower perceived attractiveness of the matched partner. Secondly, for males, perceived attractiveness of the matched partner significantly and inversely affects the likelihood of condom use. Considering females, perceived attractiveness does not significantly affect the likelihood of condom use.


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Citation Formats
A. Y. Semchenko, “Decision making under uncertainty: factors influencing mate selection in a dating application simulation,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.