Liar, liar, e-mails on fire

Here’s a troubling (and convicting) factoid about truth and e-mails from the April 2012 Harvard Business Review. Online communication appears to bring out the liar in even the best of us.In an experiment involving 15-minute conversations between 110 pairs of undergraduate students, University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers found that “people conversing by e-mail told five times as many lies as people speaking face-to-face.”

Apparently, out of sight is out of truth. According to the researchers, “The relative impersonality of e-mail decreases self-restraint. It also affects the kinds of deceptions, with e-mailed lies typically being more self-serving than those told in person.”

If you’ve been the victim of a malicious e-mail or have fallen for a forwarded bit of misinformation, I suspect you’re nodding as you read.

If you’ve been guilty of online hyperbole or passing along as “fact” something you suspected may not have been true (and who among us hasn’t been there, done that), today’s a new day.

What's your take on this topic?

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