Texting may be an easy and popular form of communicating, but a new study also shows that it can also be a way for people to lie more.
The study, led by David Xu, assistant professor in the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, examined how deceitful people were when communicating via text, video chat, face-to-face or audio chat.
One-hundred and seventy students from the University of British Columbia were asked to play the role of either a broker or a buyer.
When conducting a transaction, the brokers were asked to communicate in one of the four ways: texting, video chat, face-to-face or audio chat. To increase the participation and the amount of effort put into the role playing, researcher gave the brokers and buyers up to $50 cash for, either, the amount of stocks sold by the buyers, or what the value of the stock was for the buyers.
In addition, the brokers were given the inside information that the stock would ultimately lose half of its value. The buyers, however, were not told until after the transaction had been completed.
The buyers were then asked if their broker had deceived them when selling them their stock.
The results showed that when the buyers were contacted via text, they were lied to more often – 95 percent more often than if it were done with video chat. Buyers were 31 percent more likely to be deceived compared to face-to-face and 18 percent more likely if the communication was done through audio chat.
"We also found that people are far more angry when they're lied to by text. One of the reasons is that the text offers little chance of misinterpretation. Text messaging leads people to be more deceitful when compared to other modes of communication because of the theory of feeling more anonymous," Xu said in an interview posted on the Wichita State University website.
The study will be published in the March edition of the Journal of Business Ethics