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Deception in Mobile Dating Conversations


A salient issue for online romantic relationships is the possibility of deception, but it is unclear how lies are communicated before daters meet. We collected mobile dating deceptions from the discovery phase, a conversation period after daters match on profiles but before a face-to-face interaction. Study 1 found that nearly two-thirds of lies were driven by impression management, particularly self-presentation and availability management goals. Study 2 found that approximately 7% of messages were deceptive, and content patterns were consistent with Study 1. Across studies, the participant’s lying rate was correlated with the perceived lying rate of the partner. We discuss the implications of these data in relation to impression management, deception theory, and online dating research.

D.M. Markowitz
J.T. Hancock
Journal of Communication, (1-23)
Publication Date
April 26, 2018