The researchers took a group of 170 individuals and divided them up. Half were “Brokers” and the other half were “Buyers” in a mock stock transaction. There were perks involved to help give it a more realistic approach. The brokers were advised there would be a cash incentive for more stock sales and the buyers were offered cash rewards based on the yet-to-be-determined value of the stock.
Then they leaked some insider information to the brokers letting them know the stock was rigged to lose half of its value. Buyers were only informed this information after the fake buying transaction took place and they were asked if the broker deployed any deceit to sell the stocks.
What a surprise, the brokers were liars. Buyers that received the information via text message were 95% more likely to report deception than compared with video interactions, 31 % more likely to report deception when compared to face-to-face, and 18% more likely if the interaction was via audio chat.
“People are communicating using a growing range of methods, from Twitter to Skype,” says Sauder Assoc. Prof. Ronald Cenfetelli, a co-author on the paper. “As new platforms of communication come online, it’s important to know the risks that may be involved.”
“Our results confirm that the more anonymous the technology allows a person to be in a communications exchange, the more likely they are to become morally lax,” says Sauder Prof. Karl Aquino, also one of the co-authors.
What does all these mean. Well, people are generally liars. Especially those out to make a profit from your hard-earned money. That is my opinion anyways. In all fairness it just means that text message you got might not be a 100% truthful. If you are worried about any purchases made via sites like eBay or other online venues that are person to person, you might want to see if they can hope on a Skype call or a Hangout with you.
So this brings up the question, how often do you lie in a text message compared to when you are face to face or in a video call? Having that ‘disconnected’ feeling and hiding behind words can let you say just about anything and not even think about it. Anyone want to own up to their text message lying habits? I know I do it more than I ever thought about until now. Might be a good New Years Resolution.