This experimental psychology research project aimed to conduct the first ever randomized controlled trial to experimentally determine the impact of reduced dating application usage on various measures of psychological well-being. This project is designed to expand upon a study I worked on in Dr. Hunt’s lab last year that found a causal connection between decreased social media use and increased well-being, particularly in terms of decreased loneliness and depression.
In addition to exploring dating applications, we also created and validated a novel psychological scale to measure self-perceived interpersonal attractiveness, which was incorporated into the dating application study as well. A scale of this nature had yet to be developed, and we were able to successfully create a way to quantify one’s own sense of their global interpersonal attractiveness across a wide range of attributes, including physical and personality features.
The results of this study indicated that dating application usage is not particularly distressing to the Penn undergraduate population, which was surprising given the existing literature. There were some interesting sex differences, namely that males seemed to be the ones benefiting the most from using these applications. Overall, this project was a successful intervention that yielded novel results, which can hopefully be used to inform our knowledge of the impact that digital interactions have on our well-being.
This research project has not only expanded my knowledge about conducting psychological research, but also solidified my desire to pursue my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Thank you very much to CURF, Dr. Hunt, and our undergraduate research assistants for making this project possible!