Modern Love and Your Ancient Brain—Why Experts Are Optimistic About Dating Apps

As online dating becomes more prevalent and our thumbs garner more action than our sparkling personalities, the debate about whether or not our romantic lives are suffering remains a topic of conversation. "Online dating, more than anything, changes things because it's an infusion of technology into relationships," says Daniel Jones, editor of The New York Times Modern Love column, at a live debate in NYC. "We are always trying to make love easier, you know? We feel like it should be something we can get better at and something that we can solve. And we bring science to it and we bring technology to it. And what I like about love is that none of that ever seems to work."

He's right, it's never simple—even with every well-planned algorithm at our fingertips. Jones wrote in his book: "Love is for the sucker in us, not the skeptic." But as we fall further and further down the rabbit hole of profile pictures, mutual friends, and text conversations, how much is our internet persona messing with our real-life chemical attractions?

Scent is such a large part of attraction—so much so that there's scientific research to support that claim. We wear perfumes to seduce, but our natural pheromones supposedly can attract others too. But are they less important now that we're in the age of swiping? When scent isn't part of the initial equation, does it still have a role in modern dating? Below, experts discuss the way our hardwired brains interact with dating apps—and whether or not we're worse off than ever before.