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Reading between the Lines: Linguistic Cues to Deception in Online Dating Profiles


This study investigates whether deception in online dating profiles is detectable through a linguistic approach, which assumes that liars nonconsciously produce different word patterns than truth-tellers. We objectively measure deception in online dating profiles and analyze the linguistic composition of the open-ended component of the profile (i.e., “about me” section) using computerized text analysis. Results show that profile deceptions correlate with fewer self-references, increased negations, fewer negative emotion words and fewer overall words used in the textual self-description. Results are discussed in terms of (1) practical implications for detecting deception in online profiles; and (2) theoretical implications regarding the impact of media affordances (i.e., asynchronicity and editability) on the occurrence of linguistic cues to deception.

C.L. Coma
J.T. Hancock
Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2010), 5-8. [Acceptance rate: 20%]
Publication Date
February 10, 2010