Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Article Newspaper/Magazine

Deception and design: The impact of communication technologies on lying behavior


Social psychology has demonstrated that lying is an important, and frequent, part of everyday social interactions. As communication technologies become more ubiquitous in our daily interactions, an important question for developers is to determine how the design of these technologies affects lying behavior. The present research reports the results of a diary study, in which participants recorded all of their social interactions and lies for seven days. The data reveal that participants lied most on the telephone and least in email, and that lying rates in face-to-face and instant messaging interactions were approximately equal. This pattern of results suggests that the design features of communication technologies (e.g., synchronicity, recordability, and copresence) affect lying behavior in important ways, and that these features must be considered by both designers and users when issues of deception and trust arise. The implications for designing applications that increase, decrease or detect deception are discussed.

J.T. Hancock
J. Thom-Santelli
T. Ritchie
Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2004), 6, 130-136. New York, ACM. (Acceptance rate 16%)
Publication Date
April 29, 2004