Most people lie. Whether it’s once and a while or daily, everyone has to do their thing and sometimes lying seems like the best way to make it all work. But liars have tells, which can be just as important in life as in poker. And a new study suggests that people take longer to respond to texts when they’re cooking up a lie. Just one more thing to factor into the social calculus.
Researchers at Brigham Young University found that texts containing a lie took longer to compose and were often shorter than truthful texts. This makes sense, but even armed with the knowledge humans are still poor lie detectors. The researchers found that through exact measurement and modelling they could predict SMS lies more accurately. “Unfortunately, humans are terrible at detecting deception. We’re creating methods to correct that,” BYU researcher Tom Meservy said.
The study, which is being published in ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, looked at 100 subjects who answered 30 questions in an IM/texting-style conversation on a computer. Before the study began they were directed to lie in about half their answers. The subjects took 10 per cent longer writing their lies and then also took longer to revise them.
Humans can only identify a lie 54 per cent of the time, so really we might as well be guessing. And we’re even worse in communication media like text messaging where people can’t observe each other. Of course there are a lot of reasons that people don’t respond to text messages right away, but lying is definitely one of them. They also might not like you. [Huffington Post]
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