Your cheeks flush, you get a knot of excitement in your stomach: you've swiped right on somebody, and you get that little pop-up saying they've swiped right on you. While the technology of dating apps may be extremely new, what happens in your brain when you get a match is in fact pretty hard-wired within us since the earliest days of our being human. Experts tell Bustle that the clue to your responses to dating app acceptance is embedded in some very old brain pathways — and that they can also explain why the feeling isn't as satisfying as it could be.
If you've ever felt as if your responses to dating app matches aren't strictly logical, you're not imagining things. "When you go on dating apps, you're playing with very primitive structures that aren't rational," Dr. David Greenfield, the founder and medical director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, tells Bustle. "This is why people will sit and do it over and over again; it's not about the rational desire to be in a relationship." Instead, dating apps involve areas of the brain that make them into a kind of sport, bringing us back over and over again. Here's what happens in your brain when somebody swipes right on you.