Thursday, December 4, 2008

Study Shows E-mail Opens the Door to Our Dark Side

A study presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management finds people significantly more willing to lie in e-mails than in communication with pen and paper, even when both are done in relative anonymity. Moreover, they feel more justified in lying.

I knew it!

It had to be true.

I've just been waiting for the study to come out.

And here it is: Being Honest Online: The Finer Points of Lying in Online Ultimatum Bargaining

"The results of our study illustrate that traditional pen-and-paper communication is indeed different from e-mail in the way it influences people's behaviors, even though both [are] text only," conclude the study's authors, Charles Naquin of DePaul University, Terri Kurtzberg of Rutgers University, and Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University.

As if that weren't darning enough, hold on to your hat:

They add: "Overall, the lower degree of social obligation found in the use of e-mail versus paper, coupled with ambiguity for communication norms and lack of formal rules, procedures, and expectations regarding e-mail, may allow individuals to tap into a sense of psychological justification for their deviant behaviors (such as deception) more easily online than in the paper mode."

Well, there you have it.



There's not much more to be said to those of you who wish to attain any level of acceptance in polite society.

Just four words: paper, pen, stamp, write.


Anonymous said...

I was unaware that people felt more "comfortable" and justified in lying on the Internet. However, I had a situation with my tea group, in which a member S contacted another member C by phone, and then followed it with a letter informing C that she had never received a thank you note for a gift S had given C. I never heard of such a breach of etiquette, and finally had to inform S that she is no longer welcome in the tea group. She just wasn't getting it, that she should not have asked for a thank you note.

Peter Hopkins said...

Sigh.....there remains much work to do.