Technology has given people more ways to connect, but has it also given them more opportunities to lie?
Social psychologists and communication scholars have long wondered not just who lies the most, but where people tend to lie the most – that is, in person or through some other communication medium.
A seminal 2004 study was among the first to investigate the connection between deception rates and technology. Since then, the ways we communicate have shifted – fewer phone calls and more social media messaging, for example – and I wanted to see how well earlier results held up.
Deception and technology
Back in 2004, communication researcher Jeff Hancock and his colleagues had 28 students report the number of social interactions they had via 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 people told the most lies per social interaction on the phone. The fewest were told via email.
The findings aligned with a framework Hancock called the “feature-based model”. According to this model, specific aspects of a…