Online communication has become an integral part of most of our lives, and yet many people continue to view those they meet on the Internet with suspicion.
They imagine that online forums are filled with sexual predators and people using false identities. Online interactions vary in terms of two major questions: (1) What venues are we using to communicate, and, (2) What are we lying about?
By this definition, even the expression of hidden “true self” traits could qualify as lies.
It is also somewhat common for online daters to stretch the truth about their age, with about 19 percent lying about it (Toma et al., 2008).When I have my own undergraduate students read about the “true self” research, many are shocked by the results, having believed that the Internet was rife with dishonesty.The idea that people could be, in some ways, genuine online than off strikes them as counterintuitive.In one study asking undergraduates to communicate with a stranger in a lab for 15 minutes, it was found that the students were more likely to misrepresent themselves online than face-to-face (Zimbler & Feldman, 2011).But these researchers defined misrepresentation quite broadly, where subjects reviewing transcripts of their conversations were encouraged to label their statements as false if the statements could be perceived as inaccurate or if the subjects weren’t sure if they were accurate.