Why People Lie On Online Dating Services?

By
June 20, 2012

Individuals who tend to lie on online dating services are probably people pleasers who are trying to present themselves in the best light in order to get someone to like them, just the same way as they would do if you meet them face-to-face.

To this conclusion came a University of Kansas researcher Jeffrey Hall, assistant professor of communication studies, who said that while the Internet plays a more important role than ever before when it comes to starting online dating and relationships it is also a forum for cheating and lies that can put the relationships to an end.

For his research, Hall surveyed more than 5,000 individuals in a national Internet matchmaking service. His goal was to figure out what type of people are most likely to lie during the process of online dating. The participants were asked to rate on a 10-point scale how likely they were to lie about topics such as their age, appearance, financial situation, relationship goals, education, personal interests, personal characteristic features and previous relationships. An answer of 1 on the scale indicated "not at all likely," while a 10 meant that respondents were "very likely" to lie.

According to Hall, what people are lying about depends on what type of people they are, such as extroverts might not be open about the number of their past relationships because chances are that they have had more relationships than introverts. People who tend to lie on online dating websites are "high self-monitors," which means that they have quite an acute sense of what others might like and keep under control their actions in order to achieve social ends. Such actions, Halls said, are not necessarily manipulative, but rather demonstrate a desire to be loved or to fit in.

The majority of the survey respondents reported that they would not lie during online interactions. The answers, on average, were close to around 2 for the most surveyors, Hall said. When compared to their female counterparts, male participants were more likely to lie in every category except weight. However, the differences between men and women were small, the study found. For instance, when lying about finances and education, men led women 2.01 to 1.83, while women led men 3.24 to 2.37 when it came to in lying about weight. High self-monitoring, and not gender, appeared to be the strongest predictor of lying, Hall said. "Personality makes much more of a difference in how much people lie," he explained.

The author refused to name the online dating website which had been used by the participants, but he said that individuals who have serious intentions and want to start long-term relationships are more likely to be the users of this site. The website, researcher noted, did not commission his research. Hall concluded that his study added to other research showing that for people who want to have a long-term relationship, the amount of lying is usually minimal, because they hope for the future face-to-face meeting and want it to go well.

The article, titled "Strategic misrepresentation in online dating: The effects of gender, self-monitoring, and personality traits", is published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.




Tags: Dating


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