It appears that most of us are useless lie detectors, especially when we cannot meet someone in a face-to-face situation. Detection of lying on dating website profiles was definitely one of our weakest points, some new research reveals.
The research concentrated on the online dating arena, with lies told by men and women appearing to be very similar. Researchers from two US universities used personal descriptions, which were written specially for internet dating profiles. The researchers have highlighted consistent clues which can be used to detect whether a writer is telling a white lie or not.
The researchers used physical appearance in their study, which compared the age, height and weight of nearly 80 online daters to the profile information they had provided plus their photographs on four dating websites. A linguistic interpretation of the group’s written descriptions showed patterns developing in the deceiver’s writing.
It was discovered that the more lies that were told in a dater’s profile, they were far less likely to make use of “I.” Deceivers often do this as a way of creating a distance between themselves and the lies.
It was also revealed that those who told lies usually wrote shorter descriptions about themselves. This meant that they did not have to remember as much, as the number of lies was less.
Online daters who had told lies about their weight, age or height normally used a photograph that was not a true representation of them selves, and they shied away from discussing their physical features with any possible partners. Overall, nearly 80% of online daters tell some form of lies, whether it is in their written online profile or when engaged in online chat.
The research outlined what aspect of themselves they lied about the most and – surprise, surprise – it was their weight. Women generally misrepresented their true weight by nearly four kilos and men by almost a kilo. 50% of the sample also lied about their height and these were usually men.