Human beings lie. It is almost second nature that at some point during the day we will lie. White lie or otherwise it doesn’t matter we all lie but interestingly enough when it comes to our online lives the majority of lies happen in emails.
This is the findings of a new study that was conducted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst title humorously enough “Liar, Liar, Hard Drive on Fire: How Media Context Affects Lying Behavior”.
The study looked at 110 same-sex pairs of college students and their conversations that were held either face-to-face, using email, or instant messaging and analyzed their interactions for inaccuracies.
What they found was that while you could find some sort of deception across all three mediums lying was present more in instant messaging and emails; with emails coming out ahead with the number of lies told. This boiled down to the confirmation that lying was much more common, and easier, with both how far away the respondents were from each other and in the case of email the asynchronous nature of the communication.
“Ultimately, the findings show how easy it is to lie when online, and that we are more likely to be the recipient of deceptive statements in online communication than when interacting with others face-to-face,” says Feldman.
“In exploring the practical implications of this research, the results indicate that the Internet allows people to feel more free, psychologically speaking, to use deception, at least when meeting new people,” Feldman and Zimbler say. “Given the public attention to incidents of Internet predation, this research suggests that the deindividualization created by communicating from behind a computer screen may facilitate the process of portraying a disingenuous self.”