Markowitz, D.M., & Hancock, J.T. (2017). Matchmaker, matchmaker, swipe me an (honest) match: Deception dynamics in mobile dating messages. Presentation at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, San Diego.


Romantic relationships now begin, develop, and dissolve on the mobile phone. A salient issue for new online relationships is the possibility of deception, but it is unclear how often lies are communicated before mobile daters meet face-to-face. We collected mobile dating deceptions from the discovery phase, a conversational period after daters match on profiles but before a face-to-face interaction. Study 1 found that approximately 19% of participant messages were deceptive, with nearly half of those deceptions driven by self-presentation goals. Participants also rated nearly 19% of their partner’s messages as deceptive, particularly messages about availability and compliments. Study 2 observed a lower deception rate after participants explained their lies, but the content patterns were consistent with Study 1. Across both studies, the participant’s lying rate was correlated with the perceived partner lying rate, a pattern we call the interpersonal deception bias, which suggests a false consensus bias in deception frequency.