Faculty in the news – eFibbing

5 Dec

Here’s an interesting bit of research on e-mail and honesty that’s been making been making the rounds in the media lately. It was co-authored by DePaul College of Commerce professor Charles Naquin with colleagues at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

From CNN.com:

Two new studies … suggest that people are notably more likely to lie in an e-mail even than in traditional pen-and-paper communication.

The findings are reported in a paper called “Being Honest Online: The Finer Points of Lying in Online Ultimatum Bargaining.”

In one study, a group of MBA students were given a supposed $89 to divide between themselves and a fictional second party, who only knew that the amount in question was somewhere between $5 and $100. There was no negotiation; the other party had to accept whatever offer was made.

When communicating their offers via e-mail, 92 percent of students lied about the amount of money available, and said they felt justified in handing over an average of just $29, rather than the $56 equal split.

“Keep in mind that both of these media — e-mail and pen and paper –are text only. Neither has greater ‘communication bandwidth’ than the other,” said [Naquin]. “Yet we still see a dramatic difference.”

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