Study finds people more likely to lie when they’re texting

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A new study published in the Journal of Business Ethics has found that people are more willing to lie when texting than they are when audio chatting or video chatting. Researchers figured this out not by asking that asshole Craig if he really had to be at the dentist that time you needed help moving a sofa, but with an elaborate role-playing game and some college students. I phrased that to make it sound vaguely sexy or potentially in breach of some sort of ethical code, but actually it's just about boring old stock trading:

One student took on the role of a stockbroker, the other student played a buyer. Researchers told the "stockbroker" that the stock they had to sell would lose 50% of its value in one week. They also gave the "stockbroker" a financial incentive to sell as much of the bad stock to the "buyer" as possible.

Researchers found that the stockbrokers were most likely to engage in duplicitous behavior either lying about the quality of the stock, or not mentioning how bad it was if they conducted the buy/sell conversation via text message.

As the study notes, this result makes a good deal of sense — you may not want to lie over text any more than you do on the phone or face-to-electronic-face, but it's a damn sight easier to do so for those of us who can't act. You can often tell if someone's acting squirrelly from their voice or the way they hold themself. It's harder to read into "stock is 2 good 2 b tru!"

One other result: when informed of the lies, buyers were in general more angry about being lied to by text than the other forms of communication. So if you're reading this, Craig, you better not have been making up that faulty crown. Otherwise, this friendship is over.