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Online Dating as Honest as Real Life
Date:3/11/2010

When fibs are told, men and women do so about equally, researchers say

THURSDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- For the millions looking for love on the Internet, the nagging question remains: Is my virtual paramour the person they say they are?

A new survey of more than 5,000 U.S. online daters finds that the answer to that question is -- by and large -- 'yes,' or at least as honest as they would be in face-to-face dating.

The study also found that when fibs do occur, men and women appear equally guilty.

"The concerns people have when dating online are very similar to the ones they have in their face-to-face lives. And we found that dating behavior is very similar as well," said study author Jeffrey Hall, an assistant professor in the department of communication studies at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The study appears in the March 8 issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

The new study comes on the heels of recent work by German and U.S. researchers indicating that users of friendship-oriented social networking sites, such as Facebook, offer up realistic self portraits when posting online profiles.

But is this true for the online dating world, where the emotional stakes are higher?

To find out, Hall and his team administered an online survey in 2007 to more than 5,000 American adults -- all patrons of a "large [unnamed] online dating site".

Participants averaged 40 years of age, more than 80 percent were white, and nearly three-quarters were women. More than half said they were single and had never been married, while just over 40 percent said they were divorced. A little over two-thirds said they were not currently involved in a romantic relationship.

After collecting demographic information, the participants were asked how likely they would be to misrepresent themselves online with respect to their personal att
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