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Do You Take Longer To Text When You Lie?

Submitted by on September 9, 2013 – 9:54 amOne Comment

If your girlfriend texts you asking where the hell you were last night, be sure to answer right away. A new study says that text messages containing lies take longer to compose than the honest truth.

Researchers at Brigham Young University tested 100 students, having a computer ask them 30 questions, and instructing the subjects to lie on about half of the questions. The results? Students “spent 10 percent longer writing messages with lies, and they spent more time editing those messages,” according to the Huffington Post.

The results will be published in the journal ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems.

According to the researchers, humans are terrible lie detectors to begin with, able to tell falsehoods just over half of the time. That’s only slightly better than guessing.

“Digital conversations are a fertile ground for deception because people can easily conceal their identity and their messages often appear credible,” says Tom Meservy, BYU professor of information systems, in a statement on the BYU website. “Unfortunately, humans are terrible at detecting deception. We’re creating methods to correct that.”

Texting offers even more opportunities to get away with lying, as it cannot betray signs in voice or body language that the subject is lying. Previous studies already found a higher correlation between lying and texting than with other forms of communication.

While the results of the study make sense, I think the methods are a bit unrealistic. Without real-life stakes, people might actually become worse, less convincing liars. Part of the delay could have been the subject deciding whether to lie about that question or not, but real life lies are usually not so arbitrary.

What do you think? Do you have SMS “tells” that give away your whoppers?

[Image via TechnoBuffalo]

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