We are surprisingly truthful when texting

Mobile phone users can be surprisingly truthful when sending messages, new research has suggested. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study revealed individuals are more likely to open up while texting than they are during voice interviews.

Fred Conrad, a Cognitive Psychologist and Director of the Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research - who carried out the investigation alongside Michael Schober, Professor of Psychology and Dean of the New School for Social Research - noted the findings were a little unexpected.

Mr Conrad observed many individuals believed they would be more prohibitive when sending messages because the act of doing so creates a visual record of questions and answers that other people can see.

The investigation revealed users are often more accurate through non-verbal mobile phone communication and are less prone to 'satisficing' - the act of giving easy answers, deemed just about good-enough.

Mr Conrad stated: "We believe people give more precise answers via texting because there's just not the time pressure in a largely asynchronous mode like text that there is in phone interviews."

Tom Stewart, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "I am not surprised by this finding. We know from our research in retailing behaviour that when people were asked to write their name and address on the back of a cheque (in the days before chip and PIN) a surprising number wrote their real name and address even if they had been trying to pass a forged cheque.

"We thought it was the stress that made them revert to the truth but maybe as this research shows there is something about writing/texting which feels different from communicating in other ways."

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