The study focused on 600 iPhone users and asked them questions about drinking habits, exercise, and other sensitive information over both phone and SMS interviews. The interviewees were more likely to tell the truth over SMS, even if they knew the interviewer was a human instead of a computer. The researchers chalk this up to the less immediate nature of SMS:
Graph depicting binge drinking among respondents”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,” [psychologist Fred] Conrad said. “As a result, respondents are able to take longer to arrive at more accurate answers.”
More research needs to be done, but it’s a very interesting conclusion, and it couldn’t hurt to keep in mind the next time you want to get the truth out of someone. Hit the link to read more.
OMG! Texting Ups Truthfulness, New iPhone Study Suggests [University of Michigan News Service via Engadget]