How to tell when someone is lying in their online dating profile

December 11, 2009 at 9:27 am | Posted in Dating Statistics, Dating Tips, News, Online Dating | Leave a comment
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To any experienced online dater, this is hardly a revelation: people lie in their online dating profiles.

Last year a Jeffrey Hancock, a researcher from Cornell University, studied the profiles of 80 online daters in New York and compared them to their physical appearance. He found  that 81% of participants lied about at least one of the three things in their profile.

We already know that women often round down their weight and men commonly add inches to their height, but Hancock’s new study to be published in an unpcoming Journal of Communication issue uncovers how profiles reveal when someone is lying.

The trick?

It’s not so much as reading between the lines as it is looking for what’s missing from the page.

Hancock found that people lying about their weight avoided writing about food, while people lying about their salary avoided writing about money. On the whole, liars’ profiles tend to be shorter, their “about me” section brief, and make scant use of the pronouns “I” or “me.”

“This is called psychological distancing, where speakers distance themselves from the lie,” said Prof. Hancock in an article, “We see it in perjury cases, in political speech and in the lab where we’re getting students to lie to one another. They are aspects of speech that reflect deception in a way we can’t control – they’re very unconscious.”

But don’t overscrutinize the next time you troll on Match.com — Hancock says its extremely difficult for someone to identify these falsehoods before the fact.

And while these fibbers are definitely being deceptive, they’re not necessarily being malicious about it.

Hancock observes that liars are motivated to enhance their profile, but still be able to accurately portray themselves when meeting in person.

But that’s not the case for all online representations of you.

A study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that Facebook and other social networking sites portray a fairly accurate representation of a person.

While the reason for this difference is unclear, one thing for certain is that it’s harder to inflate your profile when friends can write on your wall and tag unflattering pictures of you.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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