Telling Lies: Email vs. Letters

Yesterday I heard on KCBS radio about a study that showed people tend to lie more when communicating via email then they do when writing a letter.  I discovered the studies came out of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania led by Liuba Belkin and co-authored by Terri Kurtzberg of Rutgers and Charles Maquin of DePaul.  In one of the studies, students were given $89 to divide between themselves and strangers either via email or via written letter.  Those that divided cash via email lied about the amount 92% of the time, while those who divided it via letter lied less than 64% of the time.  “It’s not just that emailers were more deceptive,” Belkin says.  “Its that the magnitude by which they lies was significantly greater.”  Of course, this has implication for everyone, since we now communicate via email so often.  Perhaps when we need to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we should ask for it in writing.  The old-fashioned form of writing on paper.