Do Women Pick Up Lies before Men?The Association between Gender, Deception Patterns, and Detection Modes in Online Dating

Andreas Schmitz 1 *, Doreen Zillmann, Hans-Peter Blossfeld 1

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Abstract

Due to its particular conditions, the Internet increases opportunities for lies and deception compared to offline interactions. In online dating, misrepresentation of the self is an issue of particular relevance. Previous studies have shown that searching for a mate online is accompanied by a high risk of being deceived. This paper focuses on the rarely-considered perspective of the receivers of deception. Our study will first investigate deception patterns of men and women in online dating profiles. In a second step, modes of detecting deception (email, telephone, face-to-face, etc.) are analyzed. Using online survey data of 3,535 users of a German dating site, results show (1) gender-specific deception patterns: Women are more likely to misrepresent their physical attractiveness; men are more likely to misrepresent information on marital status, intended relationship, and height. (2) These gender-specific deception patterns are associated with specific detection modes. Women are more likely to detect specific male deceptions during e-mail communication in an early stage of dating, whereas men are more likely to detect specific female deceptions at the first face-to-face meeting. These results highlight the link between different kinds of deception, characteristics of the receiver and its detection via different communication technologies. Implications of the results for the mating process are discussed.

Keywords

Deception Communication Technologies E-Dating Correspondence Analysis

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 52-73

Published Online: 25 Jul 2013

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