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ICA 2013: People, Place & Time: The Daily Rhythms of Deception in Text Messaging


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Presented at ICA 2013 in London, UK on June 20, 2013

Smith, M.E., Birnholtz, J., Reynolds, L., Hancock, J. (2013). People, Place and Time: The Daily Rhythms of Deception in Interpersonal Text Messaging. Presented at ICA (International Communication Association Annual Conference) 2013.

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ICA 2013: People, Place & Time: The Daily Rhythms of Deception in Text Messaging

  1. 1. NorthwesternUniversityPeople, Place & TimeThe Daily Rhythms of Deception inInterpersonal Text MessagingCornellUniversityICA 2013London, UKLindsayReynoldsJeremyBirnholtzJeffHancockMadelineSmith
  2. 2. 2Butler Lies• Often used to avoid socialinteraction or explain acommunication failure• Serve to maintainrelationships• Depend on norms andtechnological features• Exploit ambiguities inmediated communication
  3. 3. People•Communication variesby relationship typesand closenessAgosto et al. 2012, Baym 2010•Mixed findings aboutwho people lie most toDePaulo & Kashy 1998, Cole 2001•Butler lies told tomaintain relationshipsReynolds et al. 2011, Birnholtz et al. 20133
  4. 4. 4Who are lies and butler lies intext messaging told to?Research Question 1
  5. 5. 5Time•Temporal contextaffects perceptionsGoffman 1966•Message timing caneffect relationshipsWalther and Tidwell 1995•People delay openingand respondingReynolds et al. 2011"clock" by azmichelle on flickr
  6. 6. 6When are lies and butler lies intext messaging told?Research Question 2
  7. 7. Place•Context important forinterpreting messages•Location sharing appsincreasingly popularZickuhr 2012•Decreased ambiguitythreatens butler lyingBirnholtz et al. 2010, Reynolds et al. 20137
  8. 8. 8How does location sharing affectbutler lying in text messaging?Research Question 3
  9. 9. 9Method: Butler Messaging App
  10. 10. Study Procedure1. Pre-study online materials• Online consent form• Deception Tutorial• Download and install app2. Use app for one week• Email reminder mid-week3. Post-study questionnaire• Message logs with questions• Experience with app• Uninstall and debrief10
  11. 11. Data and Coding•3,963 sent messages•959 butler messages (24.2%)•230 deceptive messages (5.8%)•89 butler lies (2.2%)11see#you#at#7:15#I"did"not"like"her"shirt"
  12. 12. RQ1: Relationships•F(4,560.7) = 31.48, p<.001•More messages sent to romantic partners than allother categories (p<.001)120"5"10"15"20"25"30"35"Acquaintance" Friend" Family" Roman8c" Other"PercentofTextMessagesRela2onshipTypesMeanNumberofTextMessagesSentperRecipient
  13. 13. RQ1: Relationships & Lying•F(4,566.3)=1.05, p=.380•No significant differences in rates of lying byrelationship type130"3"6"9"12"15"Acquaintance" Friend" Family" Roman:c" Other"PercentofTextMessagesRela2onshipTypesPercentLiesperRecipient
  14. 14. RQ1: Relationships & Butler Lying140"2"4"6"8"10"Acquaintance" Friend" Family" Roman9c" Other"PercentofTextMessagesRela2onshipTypesPercentButlerLiesperRecipient•F(4,568.5)=1.44, p=.219•No differences in butler lying rates by relationshiptype
  15. 15. RQ2:Time & Lying15
  16. 16. RQ2:Time & Butler Lying16
  17. 17. RQ3: Locations & Butler Lying17
  18. 18. RQ3: Locations & Butler Lying18•χ2(1, N=3340) = 6.83, p<.01•Locations shared with butler lies less frequentlythan with other messages
  19. 19. Summary of Results•More text messages sent to romantic partnerthan other types of contacts•Failed to find difference and lying and butler lyingto different types of contacts•Butler lies sent at times of social coordination•Butler lies were sent without locations moreoften than other messages19
  20. 20. Discussion•Context matters: people, place and time•New technological features can impact behavior•Need more detailed studies of text messaging•Butler Messaging app20
  21. 21. Limitations & Future Work•Self-reports of deception•Potential self-selection bias•Modified app included unfamiliar features•Student sample21
  22. 22. 22We thank Jon Culver, Daniel Haber, Jared Kass, Kate Pascucci, Weili Shi,Mark Thomas and Jin Zhao for their valuable research assistance. Fundingwas partially provided by NSF Grants IIS-0915081 and DGE-0824162.People, Place & TimeThe Daily Rhythms of Deception in Interpersonal Text