TOPIC: Liar, Liar
Communications technologies are far from equal when it comes to conveying the truth. A study that compared honesty across a range of communications media found people are twice as likely to tell lies in phone conversations as they are in emails. The fact that emails are automatically recorded - and can come back to haunt you - appears to be the key to the finding.
Jeff Hancock of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, asked 30 students to keep a communications diary for a week. In it they noted the number of conversations or email exchanges they had lasting more than 10 minutes, and confessed to how many lies they told.
Hancock then worked out the number of lies per conversation for each medium. He found that lies made up 14 per cent of emails, 21 per cent of instant messages, 27 per cent of face-to-face interactions and a whopping 37 per cent of phone calls.
His results, which were presented at a conference on human-computer interaction in Vienna, Austria, surprised psychologists. Some expected emailers to be the biggest liars, reasoning that because deception makes people uncomfortable, the detachment of emailing would make it easier to lie.
To lie is to deceive others and yourself. There is NO honor in lying.