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This study examines self-presentation in online dating profiles using a novel cross-validation technique for establishing accuracy.Eighty online daters rated the accuracy of their online self-presentation.Information about participants' physical attributes was then collected (height, weight, and age) and compared with their online profile, revealing that deviations tended to be ubiquitous but small in magnitude.

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.Participants' self-ratings of accuracy were significantly correlated with observed accuracy, suggesting that inaccuracies were intentional rather than self-deceptive.

Overall, participants reported being the least accurate about their photographs and the most accurate about their relationship information.Deception patterns suggest that participants strategically balanced the deceptive opportunities presented by online self-presentation (e.g., the editability of profiles) with the social constraints of establishing romantic relationships (e.g., the anticipation of future interaction).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).Alex Dang is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Computer Engineering and Economics at the University of Maryland.He would like to thank his parents for their support, his instructor Justin Lohr for convincing him to submit this digital forum, and the staff for putting this online journal together.He credits his initial interest in the topic to his own experiences with relationships, and he hopes his research might spark more students to understand how gender roles are constructed. No part of the contents of this Web journal may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without permission from the author or the Academic Writing Program of the University of Maryland.