Study Shows E-mail Opens the Door to Our Dark Side

A study presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management finds people significantly more willing to lie in e-mails than in communication with pen and paper, even when both are done in relative anonymity. Moreover, they feel more justified in lying.

I knew it!

It had to be true.

I’ve just been waiting for the study to come out.

And here it is: Being Honest Online: The Finer Points of Lying in Online Ultimatum Bargaining

“The results of our study illustrate that traditional pen-and-paper communication is indeed different from e-mail in the way it influences people’s behaviors, even though both [are] text only,” conclude the study’s authors, Charles Naquin of DePaul University, Terri Kurtzberg of Rutgers University, and Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University.

As if that weren’t darning enough, hold on to your hat:

They add: “Overall, the lower degree of social obligation found in the use of e-mail versus paper, coupled with ambiguity for communication norms and lack of formal rules, procedures, and expectations regarding e-mail, may allow individuals to tap into a sense of psychological justification for their deviant behaviors (such as deception) more easily online than in the paper mode.”

Well, there you have it.

Paper=Good

E-mail=Bad

There’s not much more to be said to those of you who wish to attain any level of acceptance in polite society.

Just four words: paper, pen, stamp, write.


 
 

 

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