Online dating has been popular in recent years. At the end of November 2004, in the US there were about 844 lifestyles and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year. In 2005-2012, about 35% of Americans met their spouses online.
Many people who do online dating try to show a “better” self and hope to attract more potential romantic partners. However, in a recent study published in Communication Monographs, researchers find that presenting oneself too much (i.e. bragging) may reduce the date chances.
The University of Iowa conducted the study. Researchers focused on how self-presentation and warranting content predicted viewers’ impressions and intentions to act on dating profiles.
They analyzed a national sample of 316 people’s responses during online dating. These people provided their impressions and intended outcomes after viewing manipulated dating profiles.
Profiles could be high self-presenting (bragging), low self-presenting (humble), high warranting (trustable, e.g., links to external sources of information) or not warranting (e.g., no other information that can support the profile).
The result showed that generally, high self-presentation decreased viewers’ intentions to act on a dating profile because viewers found these profiles to be less socially attractive.
On the contrary, profiles with high warranting value increased positive outcomes because viewers felt these profiles are trustable.
Researchers suggest that during online dating, low self-presentation and high warranting make people seem honest as well as humble and approachable.
On the other hand, high self-presentation and high warranting profiles were perceived as arrogant. This can lessen viewers’ intention to contact them.
Therefore, daters should try to present themselves as humble, real people, because all long-term relationships are based on trust.
Citation: Wotipka CD, High AC. An idealized self or the real me? Predicting attraction to online dating profiles using selective self-presentation and warranting. Communication Monographs, 281-302. DOI: 10.1080/03637751.2016.1198041.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is for illustrative purposes only.