People Are More Likely to Lie Via Text Message

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The last time you faked sick to get out of an event, did you send a text or make a phone call?

It turns out that people are more likely to lie via text message, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Researchers from the UBC’s Sauder School of Business asked 170 students to perform mock stock transactions in one of four ways: face-to-face, by video, by audio or by text chatting. Half the participants were told to pretend they were stockbrokers and would be given a financial reward if they sold as much bad stock as possible to the “buyers.”

And guess what? The biggest lies were told when  students didn’t have to see their colleagues face-to-face.

Those who conducted business via text messages were 95% more likely to report deception than if they had interacted via video and 31% more likely than those that received face-to-face interactions.

Professor Ronald Cenfetelli, who co-authored the study, said that texting provides greater anonymity, which can lead to less moral behavior.

No surprises there. The research confirmed what most people already know – it’s harder to lie to someone when you’re looking them in the eye.

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