100 Things You Should Know About People: #86 — How Much People Lie Depends On The Medium

Woman Talking On Phone

There are many ways to communicate: paper and pen, emails, face to face, telephone, instant message. Some researchers have been interested in whether there are differences in how honest we are based on the medium.

92% of the graduate students lied — Charles Naquin from DePaul University and his colleagues have conducted research on how honest people are when they communicate with emails vs. pen and paper. In one study, forty-eight graduate business students were given $89 (imaginary money), and had to decide whether to tell their partner how much money was in the “kiddy”, as well as how much of the money to share with their partner. One group communicated by email and the other group by writing on pen and paper. The group that wrote emails lied about the amount of money (92%) more than the group that was writing by hand (63%). The email group was also less fair about sharing the money. In addition, participants in the email group felt justified in not being honest or fair.

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