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Lying and Deception in Online Dating Profiles

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on 1 May 2014

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Transcript of Lying and Deception in Online Dating Profiles

People tend to exaggerate or fabricate their characteristics in an attempt to create a desired impression.
Why do we
not deceive
Why do we deceive?
By: Sierra Day, Emma Gallagher, Shalaya Kipp, & Laura Shutack
Online Dating
Lying and Deception in Online Dating Profiles

Men vs. Women
Magnitude of deception- Depends on what we think we can get away with.

What we are deceptive with is
gender specific.
Toma & Handcock, (2012).
What Lies Beneath: The
Linguistic Traces of Deception in Online
Dating Profiles
*relationship status
Assessment & Testing
of Deception
Rowatt et al. (1998):
Deception to Get a Date
What is Deception?
How do we
Toma, et al., asked:
Are inaccuracies in online dating profiles intentional?

Self reporting-

participants rated aspects of their profiles on a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being completely truthful.

Observed accuracy-

actual measurements of: height, weight, age, and marital status.

Toma, et al., (2008).
Separating Fact From Fiction:
An examination of deceptive self-
presentation in online dating profiles.

Sample: 40 men and 40 women who used either:
-Yahoo! Personals
-American Singles

Magnitude of Deception

Between-subjects reliability:

Differences between men and women.
Both genders lie!


-.51 yrs


Because the self-reported accuracy estimate ~correlated with observed accuracy discrepancies, these individuals
were aware
of the deceptions

in their profiles.

-Relying on participants to report the truth about their own lies.

-Some characteristics can fluctuate.
81% of participants lied —
Men over stated height more than women. —
Women understated weight more than men. —
Older individuals were primarily lied about age

The outliers:
+35lbs, -20 lbs
+3", -1.75"
+9 yrs, -3years
"Individuals came from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds in New York City."
Participants' self reported estimation accuracy:

weight R2= -.30, p<.01
height R2= -.22, p<.05
age= R2= -.73, p<.001
Punch line:
The Rise in Online Dating
The Stats:
44% of adult Americans are single today.

Over 2500 different online dating sites are available for use in the U.S.

40 million Americans have admitted to using online dating sites.

1/3 of married couples in the United States met online.
The modern age way of dating where singles can create an online profile in order to communicate with other singles in hopes of finding a potential match. Most dating sites require users to upload a picture and share personal information such as age, height, location, occupation, and interests/hobbies.
How are people matched?
Are they hot or not?

Found 29 key components of personality that predict compatibility and relationship success

"We use math to get you dates"
An Overview of Online Dating Sites
Self-Reported Information
Every site requires users to upload a photo and/or give personal information in order to find a match. Since this is self-reported information, how much of someone's profile is actually accurate?
Our group decided to look at
the lying and deception
reported in online dating
"Deception is intentionally lying to mislead someone or making oneself appear to be more desirable than one really is"
40 men and 40 women
Had profiles on either
Yahoo Personals
American Singles
Entire sample lived in New York City

Deceptive Index:
Took a direct measures of the subjects such as weight, height, and age to compare to their response on their profile

Linguistic Measure:
The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2007 software program analyzed the texts in the self-description section of the subject’s profiles. The words were assigned to 76 different word categories.

Hypothesis in Study 1
Hypothesis 1
Highly deceptive profiles will contain fewer self-references but more negations and negative emotion words than less deceptive profiles.
negations= "no," "not," "never"
negative emotion words= "hate," "sorry"

Hypothesis 2
Highly deceptive profiles will contain fewer exclusive words, increased motion words, but a lower overall word count than less deceptive profiles.
exclusive words= prepositions/conjunctions such as "but," "except"
motion words= "walk," "surf," "hike"
Separate regression models were built for each hypothesis.
: Those with high self-monitoring (SM) will deceive more and mislead their self-presentation than those with low SM.

-Used Intro Psych college students
-35 men & 37 women
-2 sessions of Data Collection, 2 weeks apart

Session 1: Participants completed multiple personality inventories:
. The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory
2. Eysenck Personality Inventory
3. The PAQ

Session 2:
1. Participants received two packets on prospective daters and consequently created profiles based on these daters.
2. Filled out a self evaluation questionnaire
Three Main Categories of Lying:
Total falsehood
: A complete 180 of the actual truth.

Creating something that exceeds the truth or overstating a fact.

Subtle lie
: Purposefully misleading the truth or omitting certain relevant details
What is Self Monitoring??
Self Monitoring is a personality trait in which a person adapts or conforms his behavior to different social situations.

1. Those who were high SM's showed greater deceptive motives when creating their profiles.

2. Participants with higher integrity less likely to alter self-presentation.

3. Most neurotic individuals showed more deceptive self-presentation.

4. No significant difference between sexes.

Reciprocal deception: the idea that everyone lies a little so it's okay if you lie too. —
To appear better than you are both physically and situationally. —
Lack of awareness of deception. —
To get noticed.

Tell The Truth
Trying to find love —
The tension experienced when meeting your date is worse. —
Friends and family know about your online dating profile.
Hancock & Toma 2009:
Putting Your Best Face Forward: The accuracy of online dating profiles
54 heterosexual online daters. —
Examines differences between male and female accuracy of profile photos and photos taken at the time of study. —
Judge and trained coder examined accuracy.
Each subject came to a lab to take part in an interview with a graduate research assistant
Hypothesis 1:
The model was significant, F(3, 74)=5.67, p< .001, and explained 15% of the variance in the deception index, R=0.43, R^2=0.43, R^2 adjusted=0.15
Hypothesis 2:
Model was not significant. Neither exclusive or motion words were predictors so the model was revised by getting rid of the non-significant predictors to achieve significance, Revised F(1,76)= 4.19. Explained 4% of the variance in the deception index, R=0.23, R^2=0.05, R^2 adjusted=0.04
The more online daters lied in their profiles, the more they distanced themselves psychologically from these deceptions by using fewer self- references and more negations. Liars also used fewer words, presumably to avoid contradicting previous deceptions.
Why Does this happen?

The Expectation Discordance Model of Deception
: People are compelled to meet the expectations that others have, and may use deception to escape disappointment and shame.
Rowatt et al., (1998): Deception to Get a Date
No correlation between the self-report scores and the coder's scores for women but a small correlation for men.
Found that judge gender did not affect the perception of accuracy.
Inter-rater reliability was sufficient with kappa score's at .58 or higher.
Why might this be?
A significant amount of research concludes there is a larger emphasis on youthfulness and attractiveness for women than men.
Underlying qualities of fertility and genetic fitness

Both male and female participants had similar levels of accuracy when judging their own photos.

Males had more agreement with the independent judges and coders while women had little to none. This suggests "self-deception" in profile photos.

Self esteem and self worth may explain this.

Online dating is prevalent in today's society.

High Self Monitors are more likely to deceive.

Deception is detectable linguistically.

Deception in dating profiles was
conscious in physical characteristics; Subconscious in profile

Theory of Evolution may explain
why we deceive.
Full transcript