Strategic misrepresentation in online dating: The effects of gender, self-monitoring, and personality traits
Internet dating is a growing trend, but can we trust the information that people provide about themselves via online dating services? The researchers in this study investigated over 5000 individuals dating online, using surveys that included questions on personality traits such as openness, extroversion, education and income. The surveys also investigated the important trait of self monitoring, to capture how people present themselves to others. Findings reveal those who scored highly on this trait were more likely to misinterpret themselves.
There were little differences between the sexes, however women were more likely to fib about their weight, whereas men were more prone to tell white lies on other subjects, such as how many previous partners they had had. Overall people looking for romance online actually behave very much as they do in face to face dating and relationships,
This study examines factors (including gender, self-monitoring, the big five personality traits, and demographic characteristics) that influence online dating service users’ strategic misrepresentation (i.e., the conscious and intentional misrepresentation of personal characteristics). Using data from a survey of online dating service users (N = 5,020), seven categories of misrepresentation — personal assets, relationship goals, personal interests, personal attributes, past relationships, weight, and age — were examined. The study found that men are more likely to misrepresent personal assets, relationship goals, personal interests, and personal attributes, whereas women are more likely to misrepresent weight. The study further discovered that self-monitoring (specifically other-directedness) was the strongest and most consistent predictor of misrepresentation in online dating. Agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness also showed consistent relationships with misrepresentation.
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Hall, J., Park, N., Song, H., & Cody, M. (2010). Strategic misrepresentation in online dating: The effects of gender, self-monitoring, and personality traits Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27 (1), 117-135 DOI: 10.1177/0265407509349633