Communication Studies


Master of Arts (MA)


Faith Mullen

Primary Subject Area

Sociology, General


Interpersonal Deception Theory, Motivation, Online Dating, Perception, Romantic Relationships


In recent years, computer-media dated communication has not only become extremely popular but has also begun to hold an important function in daily social interactions. This qualitative study investigates the communication phenomena of deception as it occurs in the online dating environment. The research study focused on four questions: (1) About what characteristics are online daters deceptive? (2) What motivation do online daters have for their deception of others in the online dating environment? (3) What perceptions do online daters have about other daters' deceit towards them in the online dating environment? (4) How does deception affect the romantic relationships formed in the online dating environment? Through an online surveying tool data was collected with 15 open ended questions. A total of 52 participants were included in the study ranging in ages from 21-37. The results of the study found that the majority of online daters consider themselves and others to be mostly honest in their online self presentations. Those online daters that did use deception were motivated to do so by the longing to attract members of the opposite sex and project a positive self-image. Daters were also willing to overlook deception in others if they viewed the dishonesty as a slight exaggeration or characteristic of little value to the dater. Despite the deception that does occur, participants still believe that the online dating environment is capable of developing successful romantic relationships.