Liar, liar, email on fire

Watch your inbox closely; a new study shows people are much more likely to lie via email than in writing.

Watch your inbox closely; a new study shows people are much more likely to lie via email than in writing.

The authors of the “Being Honest Online” report, conducted by Rutgers, Lehigh and DePaul universities in the US, gave participants $US89 each. They were told to split the money with someone they didn’t know and withhold knowledge of the original amount.

For those who contacted another party via email, 92% were dishonest, while 64% of participants who contacted another party through a handwritten note lied. Those who used email gave their partner $29 and kept $60 on average, while participants negotiating by handwritten note on average handed over $34 and pocketed $55.

Liuba Belkin, an assistant professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and report co-author told The Guardian the issue comes down to trust.

“You’re not afforded the luxury of seeing non-verbal and behavioural cues over email, and in an organisational context that leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and, as we saw in our study, intentional deception.”

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