Wednesday, January 26

Have people been lying more since the rise of social media and smartphones?


Technology has given people more ways to connect, but has it also given them more opportunities to lie?

You could text your friend a white lie go out to dinner, exaggerate your height on a dating profile to look more attractive or make up an excuse for your boss via email to save face.

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Social psychologists and communication scholars have long wondered not only who lies the most, but where people tend to lie the most, that is, in person or through some other means of communication.

A seminal 2004 study was one of the first to investigate the connection between cheating rates and technology. Since then, the ways we communicate have changed (fewer phone calls and more messages on social media, for example) and I wanted to see how well the previous results held up.

The link between deception and technology

In 2004, communication researcher Jeff hancock and his colleagues had 28 students report the number of social interactions they had through face-to-face communication, the phone, instant messaging, and email over seven days. Students also reported the number of times they lied in each social interaction.

The results suggested that people told the most lies from social interaction on the phone. The least amount was reported by email.

The findings aligned with a framework that Hancock called “feature-based model. “According to this model, the specifics of a technology – whether people can communicate back and forth without problems, whether messages are fleeting, and communicators are distant – predict where people tend to lie the most.

In Hancock’s study, the majority of social interaction lies occurred through technology with all of these characteristics: the telephone. The least amount occurred in email, where people could not communicate synchronously and messages were recorded.

The Hancock Study, Revised

When Hancock conducted his study, only students at select universities you could create a Facebook account. The iPhone was in its early stages of development, a highly confidential project dubbed “Purple Project. ”

What would your results look like almost 20 years later?

In a new study, I recruited a larger group of participants and studied interactions of more forms of technology. A total of 250 people recorded their social interactions and the number of interactions with a lie over seven days, through face-to-face communication, social media, telephone, text messages, video chat and email. .

As in the Hancock study, people told most of the lies by social interaction through means that were synchronous and without records and when communicators were distant: by phone or video chat. They told the fewest lies per social interaction via email. Interestingly, however, the differences between the forms of communication were small. Differences between participants (how much people varied in their tendencies to lie) were more predictive of cheating rates than differences between the media.

Despite changes in the way people communicate over the past two decades, along with the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people socialize – people seem to lie systematically and in line with the characteristic-based model.

There are several possible explanations for these results, although more work is needed to understand exactly why different means lead to different lie rates. Certain media may be better facilitators of deception What others. Some means (phone, video chat) can make cheating feel easier or less costly for a social relationship if caught.

Cheating rates can also differ between technologies because people use some forms of technology for certain social relationships. For example, people may only email their professional colleagues, while video chat may be better suited for more personal relationships.

Misunderstood technology

For me, there are two key takeaways.

First, there are, in general, small differences in the rates of lies in the media. An individual’s tendency to lie matters more than whether someone is emailing or talking on the phone.

Second, there is a low lie rate across the board. Most people are honest, a premise consistent with default theory of truth, which suggests that most people report being honest most of the time and there are only a few prolific liars in a population.

Since 2004, social media has become a primary place for interacting with other people. However, a misperception persists that communication online or through technology, as opposed to in person, leads to social interactions that are less in quantity and quality.

People often believe that just because we use technology to interact, honesty is harder to come by and users are not well served.

This perception is not only wrong, it is also not supported by empirical evidence. the belief that lying is rampant in the digital age it just doesn’t match the data.The conversation

David Markowitz, Assistant Professor of Social Media Data Analysis, University of Oregon

This article is republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the Original article.


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