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Implications for self-presentation theory, online social interaction, and online dating research will be discussed.► We examined deceptive self-presentation in dating.► Participants expected to meet a date: face-to-face, email, or not at all.
"We found evidence for a dramatic shift since the advent of the Internet in how people are meeting their spouse," said the study, led by John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago's Department of Psychology.
However, some experts took issue with the findings because the survey was commissioned by e Harmony.com, the dating site that attracted one quarter of all online marriages according to the research.
Cacioppo acknowledged being a "paid scientific advisor" for the website, but said the researchers followed procedures provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association and agreed to oversight by independent statisticians.
Results for self-disclosure e-mails were complex, but indicate that levels of self-disclosure led to different impressions.
Low levels of self-disclosure were generally preferred in choosing for the fictitious dater, although these preferences differed by gender, education, and ethnic background.
Online dating usually begins with a flurry of e-mail messages, each more intimate than the last.