If someone’s being a dick online, before hitting the block button consider the possibility they’re just venting because they’re at work.
A recent study found people are more likely to lie and act deceptively when they’re on a laptop, compared to a smartphone – like that really matters to the person on the receiving end!
“Given that the two devices have nearly identical technical capabilities – they’re both boxes with electronic brains – this surprised us and highlights the psychological impact of technology,” study authors Terri R. Kurtzberg, Charles Naquin and Mason Ameri wrote in a piece for The Conversation this week.
Volunteers in the study played a couple of games where they had the chance to deceive a randomly assigned partner about the value of something.
In the first, they were given a sum of money and told they have to split it with their partner. They can lie to the partner about the total sum if they want, but both only get the money if the partner agrees to the deal.
In the second, they were split into buyers and sellers of a fictional company – the buyers were told the market value of the company and tasked with making an offer to the seller, who wasn’t given this information.
In both experiments, people on laptops were more devious. The first saw them lie to their partner 82 percent of the time, compared to just 62 percent of smartphone users; the second, the laptop users were far more likely to make a lowball offer.
Behind the lies
Quizzing the volunteers afterwards revealed why.
“Phones triggered associations of friends and family, and laptops led to thoughts of work, success and accomplishments – which previous research has shown can trigger unethical behaviour,” the authors wrote.
“To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is among the first to establish a link between technological device and behavioural outcomes in negotiations, even when the exact format of the information sent and received is identical,” the study concluded.
“To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is among the first to establish a link between technological device and behavioural outcomes in negotiations, even when the exact format of the information sent and received is identical.”