People are more likely to lie when they're texting than any other form of communication, a new study shows.
A paper that will be published in the Journal of Business Ethics next year made the assessment after an experiment involving students role-playing with text messaging.
In the study, 140 students were grouped in pairs and asked to play a role. One student had to be a stockbroker while the other one was a buyer, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The stockbroker was told that the stock would lose 50 per cent of its in a week. The stockbroker was also given a financial incentive to unload as much of the falling stock as possible to the buyer.
Researchers found that the sellers were more likely to be dishonest if they pulled off the deal by text message. The dishonesty generally revolved around lying about the quality of the stock or simply not mentioning how good or bad it was.
Surprisingly, the stockbrokers were most honest about the stock if the conversation occurred through video.
In the honesty stakes video beat face to face conversations and audio chat. Researchers said the dishonest behaviour was largely caused by the 'lean media' nature of texting.
Texting, they say, hides the emotional and physical clues that might reveal dishonesty. There is no lack of eye contact or nervous hand movements.
But the big surprise for researchers came from the buyers' side. When buyers were asked how angry they were that the stockbrokers had been dishonest, the research team found buyers were more enraged if they had been lied to via text than if they had been lied to face-to-face.
Ronald Cenfetelli, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, co-authored the paper. He told the LA Times: 'What we speculated was going on is there is some instant rapport-building, and some quick trust that happens when you talk to someone face to face, and it acts as a buffer and an inoculation, almost like a vaccine, against negative reactions.
People are still angry or upset if they are lied to face to face, but when they are lied to in the leaner communications, they are more angry.