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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.
They tend to avoid face-threatening interactions that honest self-disclosure potentially provides.
"High self-monitors are social chameleons," said Michael E.
Roloff, Northwestern professor of communication studies. "And because they are quick to pick up on social cues, are socially adept and unlikely to say upsetting things to others, they are generally well-liked and sought after." But there's a downside for high self-monitors when it comes to their romantic relationships.
"High self-monitors may appear to be the kind of people we want to have relationships with, but they themselves are less committed to and less happy in their relationships than low self-monitors," said Roloff.
Wright and Adrienne Holloway presented their findings from a study of 97 single young adults.
"The desire to alter one's personality to appropriately fit a given situation or social climate prevents high self-monitors from presenting their true selves during intimate interactions with their romantic partners," said Roloff.
Agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness also showed consistent relationships with misrepresentation.
--- High self-monitors -- people who are highly attuned to social situations and who most prone to moderate their behavior and the image they present to others accordingly -- are less satisfied in their romantic relationships than low self-monitors, a Northwestern University study finds.
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.