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Title: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles
Authors: Toma, Catalina
Keywords: online dating
computer-mediated communication (CMC)
Hyperpersonal Model
gender differences
objective measurement of deception
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2006
Abstract: Online dating profiles are a popular new tool for initiating romantic relationships, although recent research suggests that they may also be a fertile ground for deception. The present study examines the occurrence of lies in online dating profiles and examines deception through a variety of theoretical lenses (affordances and limitations of computer-mediated communication, relational goals, and individual differences between users). Results suggest that the deviations between participants? online self-presentations and the truth tended to be small but relatively frequent. This is consistent with the Hyperpersonal model?s assertion that online communicators engage in strategic and selective self-presentation. Results also suggest that, when deciding what to lie about, users take into consideration both the technical affordances of online dating portals, such as the editability of profiles, as well as the more social aspects of online dating, such as warranting and relational goals. Methodologically, this study is innovative in that it objectively verifies the accuracy of participants? descriptions, in addition to asking them directly whether they have lied. This increases the reliability of the data, and allows for the first objectively obtained measure of deception in online dating profiles.
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