(CNN) — Worried that the 27-year-old man making $70,000 as profiled on an online dating service isn’t so young or taking home that much cash?
Chances are he’s telling the truth if the site is geared toward long-term relationships.
But if he’s lying, he’s probably a people pleaser — the type of person who’d try to put himself in the best light even if you’d found him offline first, according to a University of Kansas researcher.
In professor Jeffrey Hall’s survey of 5,020 men and women who belonged to an undisclosed Internet dating site, most respondents indicated they wouldn’t lie. But those saying they were most likely to lie generally gave answers to other questions indicating they were people pleasers, or “high self-monitors.”
Such people have an acute sense of what others like and control their own behavior accordingly for social ends. Because they want to be liked and fit in, these people, whether online or off, may lie about weight, age, income and interests, Hall said.
“The type of people who misrepresented themselves online is the same type of people who do so face-to-face,” Hall, an assistant professor of communication studies and the study’s lead author, said by phone Thursday.
In the study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, respondents were asked to rate on a 10-point scale the likelihood that they would misrepresent their education, income, relationship goals, personal interests, weight and age to a potential date online. An answer of 1 indicated “not at all likely;” a 10 indicated “very likely.”
“On average, answers were close to around 2 for the most part,” Hall said.
Men indicated they were more likely than women to lie in every category except weight, according to the study.