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Cyber-Flirting: An Examination of Men's and Women's Flirting Behaviour Both Offline and on the Internet

  • Monica T. Whitty (a1)

Abstract

While flirting is a relatively underresearched area within psychology, even less is known about how people cyber-flirt. This paper explores how often individuals flirt offline compared to online. Moreover, it attempts to examine how men and women flirt within these different spaces. Five thousand, six hundred and ninety-seven individuals, of which 3554 (62%) were women and 2143 (38%) were men, completed a survey about their flirting behaviour both in face-to-face interactions and in chatrooms. The first hypothesis, which stated that the body would be used to flirt with as frequently online as offline, was partly supported. However, it was found that individuals downplayed the importance of physical attractiveness online. Women flirted by displaying nonverbal signals (offline) or substitutes for nonverbal cues (online), to a greater extent than men. In chatrooms men were more likely than women to initiate contact. It is concluded that cyber-flirting is more than simply a meeting of minds and that future research needs to consider the role of the body in online interactions.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Monica Whitty, School of Psychology, David Keir Building, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN. E-mail: m.whitty@qub.ac.uk

Cyber-Flirting: An Examination of Men's and Women's Flirting Behaviour Both Offline and on the Internet

  • Monica T. Whitty (a1)

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