Washington, Nov 20 (ANI): Communication using computers for instant messaging and e-mail increases lying compared to face-to-face conversations, and e-mail messages are most likely to contain lies, a new study has found.
Robert S. Feldman and Mattityahu Zimbler from the University of Massachusetts Amherst looked at 110 same-sex pairs of college students who engaged in 15 minute conversations either face-to-face, using e-mail, or using instant messaging and then analysed the results for inaccuracies.
Feldman and Zimbler found that while there is some degree of deception present in all three forms of communication, it was increased in both instant messaging and e-mail, with e-mail messages the most likely to contain lies.
Underlying this was the concept of deindividualization, where as people grow psychologically and physically further from the person they are in communication with, there is a higher likelihood of lying.
In addition to the distance one person is from the other, e-mail communication has the added component of being asynchronous, not as connected in real time as instant messaging or face-to-face conversation.
"It seems likely that the asynchronicity of e-mail makes the users feel even more disconnected from the respondent in that a reply to their queries is not expected immediately, but rather is delayed until some future point in time," Newswise quoted the researchers as saying.
"Ultimately, the findings show how easy it is to lie when online, and that we are more likely to be the recipient of deceptive statements in online communication than when interacting with others face-to-face.
"In exploring the practical implications of this research, the results indicate that the Internet allows people to feel more free, psychologically speaking, to use deception, at least when meeting new people.
"Given the public attention to incidents of Internet predation, this research suggests that the deindividualization created by communicating from behind a computer screen may facilitate the process of portraying a disingenuous self," they added.
The study has been published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. (ANI)
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