Online Braggers Don't Get Dates

Behavioral & Mental Health
Natural Health
Contributed byKrish Tangella MD, MBAAug 17, 2016

As online dating has become a widely accepted way to attract possible romantic partners, scholars have been taking a closer look at the practice. What makes an online dater successful? Do the same factors that make face-to-face relationships successful also apply in the online dating world?

A new study recently published in the National Communication Association's journal Communication Monographs asks how specific types of content in online dating profiles affect viewers' impressions of the profile owner and their intentions to act on what they've seen by contacting the profile owner for a date.

When it comes to online dating, people are often told to highlight their best qualities. They emphasize their most favorable physical characteristics and personality traits. And, according to past research, providing corroborating evidence for the information on a profile can increase trust. To find out whether these two practices made online daters successful, Crystal D. Wotipka and Andrew C. High of The University of Iowa asked 316 online daters what they thought of particular profiles.

Participants were presented with one of four sample online dating profiles that exhibited different types of content development by the profile "owner." Wotipka and High looked specifically at the effects of two concepts: selective-self presentation and warranting. Selective self-presentation is people's ability to highlight the most flattering information to others. In the context of online dating, where the goal is to attract a partner, people are motivated to present a lot of positive information about themselves while minimizing negative information -- or in other words, to brag a little. People can "warrant" their online dating profiles, explain the authors, by providing access to corroborating sites -- for example, a link to a professional biography page or the name of a blog to which they regularly contribute.

The authors examined how online dating profiles that contain high or low selective self-presentation and high or low warranting align with impressions of social attraction and trust from profile viewers. Wotipka and High also analyzed whether impressions of trust and social attraction influenced a profile viewer's intention to contact and date the profile owner.

The authors found viewers judged people who were perceived as overly bragging about themselves, their looks, or their accomplishments as less trustworthy and less socially attractive, thereby lessening viewer's intentions to date or contact those profile owners.

To present profiles that had high warranting value, the authors included links to external sources of information in the manipulated profiles that could corroborate information, such as a link to a professional biography page maintained by the profile creator's employer. This strategy helped viewers to verify content in a profile, which ultimately increased trust in the information on the profile, but only when people bragged less.

When combined, low selective self-presentation and high warranting made people "seem honest as well as humble and approachable," wrote the authors. However, perhaps one of the most interesting findings in the study is that profiles exhibiting both high self-selective presentation and high warranting were perceived as arrogant or immodest, which lessened viewers' intention to contact them. In other words, braggers don't get dates.

"Daters should strive to present themselves as humble, 'real' people," explain the authors, especially if their goal is to establish a long-term relationship based on trust.

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Taylor & Francis.Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Disclaimer: DoveMed is not responsible for the adapted accuracy of news releases posted to DoveMed by contributing universities and institutions.

Primary Resource:

Wotipka, C. D., & High, A. C. (2016). An idealized self or the real me? Predicting attraction to online dating profiles using selective self-presentation and warranting. Communication Monographs, 1-22.

Was this article helpful

On the Article

Krish Tangella MD, MBA picture
Approved by

Krish Tangella MD, MBA

Pathology, Medical Editorial Board, DoveMed Team


Please log in to post a comment.

Related Articles

Test Your Knowledge

Asked by users

Related Centers


Related Specialties

Loading card

Related Physicians

Related Procedures

Related Resources

Join DoveHubs

and connect with fellow professionals

Related Directories

Who we are

At DoveMed, our utmost priority is your well-being. We are an online medical resource dedicated to providing you with accurate and up-to-date information on a wide range of medical topics. But we're more than just an information hub - we genuinely care about your health journey. That's why we offer a variety of products tailored for both healthcare consumers and professionals, because we believe in empowering everyone involved in the care process.
Our mission is to create a user-friendly healthcare technology portal that helps you make better decisions about your overall health and well-being. We understand that navigating the complexities of healthcare can be overwhelming, so we strive to be a reliable and compassionate companion on your path to wellness.
As an impartial and trusted online resource, we connect healthcare seekers, physicians, and hospitals in a marketplace that promotes a higher quality, easy-to-use healthcare experience. You can trust that our content is unbiased and impartial, as it is trusted by physicians, researchers, and university professors around the globe. Importantly, we are not influenced or owned by any pharmaceutical, medical, or media companies. At DoveMed, we are a group of passionate individuals who deeply care about improving health and wellness for people everywhere. Your well-being is at the heart of everything we do.

© 2023 DoveMed. All rights reserved. It is not the intention of DoveMed to provide specific medical advice. DoveMed urges its users to consult a qualified healthcare professional for diagnosis and answers to their personal medical questions. Always call 911 (or your local emergency number) if you have a medical emergency!