Swipe Left or Right? The Role of Abstract Art Preferences in Modern Dating Decisions

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In the age of online dating and mobile dating apps like Tinder, prospective partners make snap judgements based on profile pictures and limited personal information. With just a quick swipe left or right, a potential suitor can be dismissed or matched with. But what unconscious factors might influence which way we swipe? New research suggests that people’s preferences for abstract art may play a surprising role in modern dating decisions. Read on to learn more about what is abstract art in relation to dating.

The Rise of Superficial Dating Decisions

Mobile dating has revolutionised the way people meet potential romantic partners. Apps like Tinder allow users to view profiles of local singles and make binary decisions on whether they are interested. This is done by swiping right to match with someone or left to reject them. With around 75 million active monthly users on Tinder alone, it is clear these quick decisions are incredibly common in modern dating. 

However, the speed and superficiality of swipe-based dating have raised concerns. Critics argue it promotes making judgements based solely on appearance and inhibits meaningful connections. But emerging research suggests there may be more psychological nuance to these left and right swipes than meets the eye.

The Link Between Abstract Art Preferences and Personality

Several recent studies have demonstrated fascinating links between people’s preferences for different artistic styles and their underlying personality traits. For example, people who are drawn to more representational art tend to be more agreeable and neurotic. Meanwhile, those who like abstract art tend to be more open to new experiences and uncomfortable with convention.

This association makes theoretical sense when you consider the very nature of abstract art. Unlike traditional art, abstract works do not attempt to literally represent reality. Instead, they use shapes, colours and textures to convey emotions, concepts and meanings beyond our everyday perceptions. Appreciating this unconventional expression therefore requires an open cognitive style and readiness to move beyond the familiar.

The Role in Dating Decisions

So, what does this have to do with swiping left or right on a potential date? Researchers suggest that in the absence of in-depth information about a person, we subconsciously infer aspects of their personality from visual cues – just like with art. Therefore, even basic profile pictures may allow us to estimate someone’s openness to experience based on their style. 

For instance, more alternative, edgy and unconventional profile photos may signify higher openness and interest in abstract art. Consequently, the theory is that people unconsciously perceive this and feel more attraction to profiles that match their own art preferences and personality style. So, if abstract art is not your thing, you may be prone to swiping left on the more quirky profiles.

Gender Differences

Intriguingly, there also appear to be gender differences when it comes to art tastes influencing dating choices. One study found women’s preferences had a stronger effect, with those liking representational art being pickier in their left swipes. In contrast, men who appreciated abstract art were less discerning overall in their swiping decisions.

Researchers speculate this may be because openness is a more valued trait in men than women when making snap dating judgements. So, males with unconventional tastes unconsciously perceive more compatibility with abstract art-loving profiles. However, more work is needed to verify these apparent gender effects.

Implications for Mobile Dating

These findings have fascinating implications for understanding how people make dating decisions in the digital age. They suggest that even when judging prospective partners on limited information, we apply unconscious personality theories that manifest through our art preferences.

However, critics argue the links between art tastes, personality traits and dating choices are overstated. Other factors like attractiveness, shared interests and values clearly still matter. More research is therefore needed to firmly establish the role of abstract art preferences in swipe-based dating judgments.

As mobile dating continues to grow, we may need to re-evaluate how compatible partners are actually determined from minimal information. Subconscious forces related to art and personality may be influencing dating decisions more than we realise. But becoming aware of these effects could help us make more conscious, considered choices, ensuring meaningful connections are not just a stroke of luck on an app.

Swiping left or right has become the defining gesture of modern dating. But while these decisions appear superficial, new evidence suggests art preferences may subconsciously sway our dating judgments. Those drawn to abstract art likely value openness and unconventionality, which we infer unconsciously from quirky profile pictures. However, more work is required to firmly establish these art-personality-dating links. Understanding these surprising effects could lead to more aware and considered dating choices.


Richard Owens
Richard Owens
Richard is a Editor-in-Chief at DatingCelebs. He loves Hollywood gossip, entertainment, and celebrity dating news. Follow him at @rowens13.