Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Email Makes Lying Easier

The Uncommon Knowledge column from the Boston Sunday Globe reports on a new study by Naquin and colleagues published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Here is what the Globe reports:

In one experiment, anonymous business students were asked to divvy up an imaginary pot of money between themselves and another person. Students who were required to submit their decision by e-mail were more likely to misrepresent the size of the pot than students who were required to submit their decision using pen and paper. Likewise, in an experiment involving real money and without anonymity, business managers misrepresented the size of a pot of money in an e-mail communication more than they did in a paper communication.

I find the results very intriguing. They suggest that technology doesn't always help us be "more connected" to others. In some ways, it makes our relationships more distant or less personal perhaps. As a result, we may not apply the same ethical and moral code when using technology to communicate with others. This research certainly makes you think.

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