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Presentation of Self on Online Dating sites Dr. Monica Whitty Queens University Belfast Invited talk: Bath University ESRC series: 30.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation of Self on Online Dating sites Dr. Monica Whitty Queens University Belfast Invited talk: Bath University ESRC series: 30."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation of Self on Online Dating sites Dr. Monica Whitty Queens University Belfast Invited talk: Bath University ESRC series: 30 th Janurary 2006

2 Personal Ads Reminiscent of a heterosexual stock market" Favourable traits Stereotypical sex role characteristics were valued commodities

3 Strategic advertisers Offer characteristics the opposite sex will find appealing Whitty & Carr 2006; Whitty, forthcoming).

4 Exchange theory Individuals pursue relationships with others only so long as they are satisfying in terms of the overall rewards and costs.

5 Self-disclosure I'm sometimes sick at heart from falling out of love with those I grew to care for enough that I stopped risking their health. I have a Herpes virus infection with yearly outbreaks. I would like to meet a woman who shares this difficulty…

6 Plea for honesty Wealthy, entrepreneurial, fun loving, energetic, playful, said to be handsome, single WM, thirtyish. Seeks cute, young, petite, single WF for travel-mate and all around companion. No B.S., no gold-diggers, sincere only need apply…

7 Selective truth telling e.g., individuals only advertised their weight when it was socially desirable. e.g., single women with children tended to omit any mention of having children in their personal ads.

8 Video dating Matching hypotheses Gender differences

9 Finding the ideal partner Presenting a realistic picture of themselves will, in turn, lead to finding the ideal partner Discrepancy between their ideal partner and the person who is realistically interested in their profile.

10 Perfect match or Numbers game? Copious amounts of time writing/re- writing profiles Send many s out hoping someone will respond

11 Gender defined lies Women: photos, weight Men: height, SES

12 Theories on self online Turkle (1995): liberating space for individuals Gergen (2000):self becomes saturated with too many identities

13 Online romantic relationships Safe space to play at love (Whitty, 2003). Joinson (2004): low self-esteem individuals Bargh & McKenna: true selves Cyberspace is not one generic space (Whitty, 2003; Whitty & Carr, 2006)

14 My theory: Experiment with identities and feel safe to flirt Depth and breadth A need to present an attractive but real/actual self (Whitty, 2004, 2006, forthcoming)

15 References Whitty, M. T. (2003). Cyber-flirting: Playing at love on the Internet. Theory and Psychology, 13 (3), Whitty, M T. (2004). Shopping for Love on the Internet: Men and Women's experiences of using an Australian Internet dating site. Communication Research in the Public Interest: ICA, New Orleans, USA, May 27-31, Whitty, M. T. & Carr, A. N. (2006). Cyberspace romance: The psychology of online relationships. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Whitty, M. T. (forthcoming). The joys of online dating. In E. Konjin, T. Martin., S. Utz, & A. Linden. (Eds.), Mediated Interpersonal Communication. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Whitty, M. T. (forthcoming). Manipulation of self in cyberspace. In B. H. Spitzberg, & W. R. Cupach. (Eds.), The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication (second edition). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Whitty, M. T. (forthcoming). Love letters: The development of romantic relationships throughout the ages. In A. N. Joinson, K. Y. A. McKenna, T. Postmes, and U. R. Reips. (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Whitty, M. T., Baker, A. J., & Inman, J. A. (Eds.) (in preparation). Online matchmaking. Palgrave Macmillan. To be published in 2006


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