Everyone lies on the internet. Except when they don't: People lie more often when conversations are fleeting, synchronous and distant, which in our modern age involves video chat and phone conversation, according to a new study.
In 2004, a group of communications researchers wanted to know if our increased use of technology also made us tell more lies. The Hancock Study asked participants to record their communication interactions and the number of lies they told per interaction for seven days. The study employed a model that took into account certain features of the technology such as "synchronicity, recordability and copresence."
What researchers learned was that in 2004, people lied most often on the telephone where they communicated synchronously, with the expectation that they would not be recorded, and at a distance from one another. People lied the least in email, where communication was asynchronous and recorded.
This week, researcher David Markowitz released the results of an updated study for the age of the iPhone, Snapchat and Zoom. Using a slightly larger group of participants and more communication tools, Markowitz found that as in the 2004 study, synchronous, unrecorded conversations result in more deception. Social media, texting and face-to-face conversations all showed similar rates of deception, which goes against the largely held theory that everyone lies on the internet.
Read more about the study in The Conversation.