In an earlier post, I discussed how people involved in online relationships can develop intense bonds due to the unique ability for the anonymity and control provided by online interactions to enable expression of the “true self”: traits that a person possesses, but does not normally feel comfortable expressing to others.Research has shown that when we chat online, even briefly, these normally hidden traits become more cognitively accessible to us and we actually do succeed in expressing them to others (Bargh et al., 2002).
In addition, those high in the trait of are more likely to be dishonest on these sites.
In all aspects of their social lives, self-monitors are concerned with outward appearance and adapt their behavior to match the social situation.
The second issue—what individuals are most likely to lie about—can be divided into several categories, including physical appearance, education, relationship or job status, and issues related to personality traits and interests.
When we might be especially honest Surprisingly, people can sometimes be more authentic online than offline in the way they express their personality.
In one study asking undergraduates to communicate with a stranger in a lab for 15 minutes, it was found that the students were more likely to misrepresent themselves online than face-to-face (Zimbler & Feldman, 2011).
But these researchers defined misrepresentation quite broadly, where subjects reviewing transcripts of their conversations were encouraged to label their statements as false if the statements could be perceived as inaccurate or if the subjects weren’t sure if they were accurate.However, research suggests that while slight misrepresentations on online dating sites are quite common, major lies are actually rare.Online daters realize that while, on the one hand, they want to make the best possible impression in their profile, on the other hand, if they do want to pursue an offline relationship, they can’t begin it with outright falsehoods that will quickly be revealed for what they are (Toma et al., 2008).Those who are introverted or high in social anxiety are especially likely to be normally show to others offline (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2002; Mc Kenna et al., 2002).Research on online dating sites has shown that men tend to lie more than women, with the exception being that women are more likely than men to lie about their weight (Hall et al., 2010).But the research suggests that when you’re chatting with someone online—in a Facebook private message or via the instant messaging function on a dating website—you and the other person may actually be especially authentic in how you present your personality. In general, people are likely to be pretty honest online; most online deception does involve the creation of false identities.