Linguistic expression and perception of personality in online dating texts and their effect on attraction
AuthorsFox Hamilton, Nicola
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AbstractOnline daters report difficulties, frustration and anxiety in conveying their desired impression of themselves and from their lack of ability in perceiving another dater’s personality accurately. There is a lack of research on how expression of personality traits in profiles impacts on perception and on assessments of attractiveness. This thesis aims to fill this gap by exploring the expression and perception of personality traits in online dating profile texts, and to examine whether textually expressed personality affects attractiveness. The first two studies employed a linguistic and content analysis approach to determine how personality was expressed in dating profiles across different dating platforms and a comparison creative story text. There was considerable variation in expression indicating that language may not be a reliable indicator of personality. A lens model approach, using Funder’s Realistic Accuracy Model, was taken in the third study where accuracy of personality perception was examined in two contexts to determine whether dating profiles provided more salient trait-related cues to personality. The linguistic and content cues utilised by judges in making personality assessments were investigated. While some accuracy of perception was possible for emotional stability in online dating profiles, it was context dependent and unreliable, and few cues were utilised accurately. The effects of actual and perceived personality, and similarity of personality, on attractiveness were investigated and had not been examined previously in this context. This research shows that actual traits and similarity only affect attraction when it is perceivable, whereas perceived traits and similarity can affect attraction without accurate perception. This thesis illustrates the complexity of accuracy of interpersonal perception in text, and how context drives a considerable amount of the variation in achievement of accuracy. Additionally, the results offer some practical implications for online daters.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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