Do we lie more online than in person? Some studies by social psychologists and communication specialists argue that people tend to resort to giving more false information about our life at a distance than in face to face.
The most notable study on this topic is the one carried out by communication researcher Jeff Hancock in 2004. In it, his team evaluated 28 students by asking them the number of social interactions they had had in person, by phone, by instant messaging and by mail. email during the last week.
Research participants were also required to report the times they had lied in each case. At that time, most agreed to admit that they lied more by phone and less by email .
According to Hancock’s ‘feature-based model’, the specifics of a technology predict where people tend to lie the most. That is, if people can communicate from one side to another without problems, if the messages are fleeting and if the communicators are distanced, they release more lies.
Thus, the reason people lied less in email was that they couldn’t interact synchronously and the messages weren’t momentary . However, conversations through technology , that is, by telephone, were the ones in which there were more lies.
This study was carried out long before social media became the daily bread and butter, therefore, it is to be expected that the results will change over the years. For this reason, a new study on the subject that has been carried out recently has assumed that there are new conclusions.
The second study evaluated 250 people, many more than in Hancock’s study. In this case, the participants also recorded their social interactions face-to-face, by social networks, by call, by text messages, by video calls and by email for the last seven days. And, in the same way, they pointed out the lies they had given in each of the cases.
The results were consistent with the first study in which the majority lied more by synchronous and unrecorded means, such as video chat or phone calls. Also, the place where they lied the least was email. Despite this, the differences between the different forms of communication were minimal.
Using these conclusions from the second study, Hancock’s characteristic-based model was confirmed. The passage of time has not led to a considerable change in the ways of lying in society, which prefers to resort to fleeting and distance communication methods to be less sincere.