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  • You can try and deny it but Tinder is addictive, and it's because of pigeons.

  • Tinder's Chief Strategy Officer, Jonathan Badene recently revealed that it's famous swiping format has its roots in a 1948 psychology experiment by Harvard professor Burrhus Frederic [B. F.] Skinner.

  • For his experiments, Skinner put pigeons into cages with thick buttons, as you can see in this footage from a 1982 documentary called Cognition Creativity and Behavior by Research Press Productions.

  • Then he randomly dropped in food.

  • He found that the pigeons developed superstitions, like only pecking one color button or turning in circles that they believe got them food.

  • The consequences of behavior are as important as the antecedents.

  • And things happened to an organism after it behaves and have a very important effect on it, and the effect is to make it more likely that the organism behave the same way again.

  • Of course, the food drops were totally random.

  • Badene said that this is what inspired Tinder's swiping format.

  • It's called operant conditioning.

  • It's the idea that behaviors connected to positive or negative rewards.

  • Basically, pigeons keep pecking because they think they're going to get food, and humans keep swiping because they get matches, and everybody gets the dopamine rush that comes with it.

  • In a 2010 study, researchers found that the anticipation of a reward causes more dopamine release than actually getting the reward.

  • So, every time you swipe, your brain is more and more excited to get that match.

  • It's called the variable ratio reward system.

  • It's the same reward system that things like slot machines, video games, and social media all use.

  • Tinder has proven that this model works.

  • Tinder boasts 1.6 billion swipes a day and is the most downloaded lifestyle app for two years running.

  • In 2015, Tinder cut off all regular users at 100 swipes a day and only allowed more if they were subscribed to a premium account that goes for 10 USD or more a month.

  • Now, 24 percent of users have a premium account.

  • With a business model that's built based on instinctual behaviors, it's doubtful that this will stop working anytime soon nor would many users want it to.

  • As Tinder's CSO says, you swipe, you might get a match, you might not, but you're still excited to play the game.

  • Hey guys thank you so much for watching.

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You can try and deny it but Tinder is addictive, and it's because of pigeons.

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