Lying in Email - Probable rather than Possible

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I ran across a mention of several studies that show that people are much more likely to lie in email than to tell the truth! They also seem to feel that their lies are justified!!

    This was the result of several studies on the effects of email on honesty in businesses. The upshot was that 92% of the subjects lied in the emails!!

    Here is the article from CNN:

    Why do I think this is important for Warrior Moms to know? Many of us "talk" to our kids via text, facebook and/or email. Given the other problems of difficult child-rearing, this is really staggering, in my opinion. It is easier to lie on the phone rather than in person because on the phone we have the words but also the tone of voice, mannerisms, etc... that we can hear. It is easier to lie with pen and paper than on the phone - little other than the words and MAYBE something about the handwriting can tell us if the words are the truth or not.

    It is easier to lie on email than with pen and paper!!! People actually felt that lying in email was NOT a problem even when they knew they were caught!

    This kind of makes me scared to text my kids. Not a lot because I have few if any reasons to suspect Jand T so far. And Wiz is beyond my control.

    Would knowing this change how you interact with your difficult child and the questions you ask about what he is doing?

    I don't know that the studies were conclusive or if this is more of a trend that appears but could be questionable. I thought it was thought provoking and that some of you might also.

    Do you think your kids are texting/emailing rather than calling so that it is easier to hide what they are doing? Do you catch your chld in lies more often in things they text/email to you? Do you think this is going to be a significant societal problem? It has been shows to have a negative effect on the workplace - coworkers are less cooperative and trusting in group projects and evaluations are more negative when companes use email, according to one professor.

    What could be done to combat this problem? I have no ideas yet, do you? My brain is fried, so maybe tomorrow I will think of some.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmmm. I don't lie in emails. I'm pretty sure Nichole and easy child don't, at least not to me anyway. Travis doesn't email me enough to tell. lol

    Katie on the other hand.........oh yeah. Big Time. It's why she never wanted to talk on the phone. She knows that I can tell easily when she's lying. What she didn't realize is that it's not so hard in an email either.

    I wonder why it's supposed to be easier in email than pen and paper? I don't see what difference it would make. Both are the written word format.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Going to be? No... I'd say it IS. Right now. Has been for quite some time.
    And it isn't just email... it's every part of social internet.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    It's always easier to lie when you cannot hear vocal inflection or see facial expressions. This is one of the reasons if I want to talk about anything important I do NOT use IMs, texting or email. It's just too easy to take something the wrong way. And one typo can change the whole tone of the conversation.

    Besides, when actually talking then there is NO RECORD of what was said. And this is why husband and I refused to talk to bio... She could leave a voice mail or it could be via email/website, but those were documentation.

    With our difficult children, most of us have simply accepted that, unless independently confirmed, ANY communication from them is suspect.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    When you say your brain is fried???????

    Did you really mean to was not fried?

    I've ALWAYS found you to be EXTREMEMLY competent Susie* - tell the truth. lol...hahaha. (ducks ugly stare and avoids rotten snowball) YIKES. hahaha.....snort.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It is about more than outright lies.

    We either evolved or were created with redundant systems for communication. So, if a person is deaf, they can listen with their eyes, and if they are blind, they "see" with their ears. Not literally, but... the body and brain compensate as much as possible. So, we CAN handle things like phone... we are temporarily operating as though we were blind. It is not as accurate as having both... but it works. The blind person doesn't see your facial expression, but does hear the tone of your voice. The deaf person doesn't hear the tone of your voice... but does see the body language.

    Written communication of any form, removes access to both the auditory and visual inputs on which we base our communication.

    Snail mail developed over a very long period of time. We know that when we receive it, it is already out of context in terms of both time and space. So we don't react quite so strongly to it, or at least have time to filter.

    Electronic communication is instant, so we THINK we have context. We don't, really.

    Which means that for the most part, the message sent is not the same as the message received. Small, subtle differences affect the quality and accuracy of the message. Even when we KNOW this, we still don't "know" it... we still operate the same way. We have not adapted.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Back in college I had a speech prof who was really memorable. She said that MOST of our communication is done nonverbally, and that the verbal part is actually the least important part of communication. It is important, but it simply doesn't convey nearly as much meaningful information as the nonverbal stuff does. She also said that what the audience perceives is the ONLY part of the message to focus on. It matters very little what you actually say/communicate but what matters is what your audience perceives that you say.

    it is one of the reasons that I LOVE gfgbro's line for when his little gir gets a splinter or some booboo: "It will feel all better when it quits hurting." This is said with sympathy but is NOT used to egg her into drama filled wails, or used to let her get away with things because she has a booboo. I just love it - and I use it. It sounds sympathetic (and is meant that way) but it doesn't sugar coat things or promise ice cream or anything. it is just what it is - sympathy and then move on. Niece, and many other people perceive it as saying something super sweet and then realize it is just a fact but HOW it is said makes it meaningful. Niece (and my kids/husband/parents/others) all perceive it as nice and sweet but also as not feeding the drama monster.

    I think that people like on emails more because they are so impersonal. We have developed a nasty habit of forgetting that we are sayign thing to real people out there. Poeple say appalling, awful, nasty things that they would NEVER say in person to ANYONE. Somehow it is all okay because it is in email or online. We have to figure out a way to change this, but given the prevalence of cheating in our culture, I think the coming generation who grew up with books of cheat codes on all kinds of things is going to have a very hard time with this. VERY hard time.

    A year or so ago a Sports Illustrated writer was getting a LOT of nasty comments/email from some people. Two guys were going after almost anything he wrote and just trashing it in ways that were really nasty and uncalled for. The writer took the time to find their phone numbers and actually called them. One was a college kid who lived iwth his mom and the writer asked his mom what she thought about what he wrote, and boy was Mom NOT HAPPY. The kid apologized up one side and down the other - he didn't think it would bother anyone. This kid didn't imply the writer was bad at his job, he came out and said a LOT of really nasty things about every part of the guy's life. The fact that he was replying to a real person just didn't enter his mind. The other guy had about the same reaction - totally stunned at realizing that his words (which were more foul that the kid's words and even nasiter) could bother anyone. And that he could be found - after all isn't the internet "anonymous"? Not when you sign your real name to your comments. DUH!

    But I think that is a big part of the issue. We are taught cheating with computers is okay and we are not taught to realize that we are responding to real people, not some anonymous computer.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Susie, I think you make some very good points.

    I think that for many people, e-mail and text messages are just "ether" rather than "putting it in writing". So they are stunned when whatever they've written down and sent out comes back to bite them.

    Many years ago when I was studying Human-Computer Interaction and other related subjects, I remember reviewing eye-scan studies that show people's eyes track differently when they're reading from a screen rather than reading from a page. A different part of the brain is engaged, all of which feeds into people's perception that it's all just pixels, not real words to real people.

    I heard someone recently describe e-mail as a "leaky" medium, and I thought that was a great description. One of my mentors back when I got started in IT used to say, don't put anything in e-mail that you wouldn't want published on a billboard over the expressway.