The Finer Points of Lying Online: E-Mail Versus Pen and Paper
The authors present 3 experimental studies that build on moral disengagement theory by exploring lying in online environments. Findings indicate that, when e-mail is compared with pen and paper communication media (both of which are equal in terms of media richness, as both are text only), people are more willing to lie when communicating via e-mail than via pen and paper and feel more justified in doing so. The findings were consistent whether the task assured participants that their lie either would or would not be discovered by their counterparts. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.