How to detect lies online?

Posted on August 26, 2010 by

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A study of 30,000 conference calls by American chief executives and chief financial officers found that frequent use of ‘extreme positive emotion words’ is indicative of what?
a) Success
b) Deception
c) Uncertainty
d) Fatigue

If you answered (b), you correctly identified one way of detecting lies online. Besides the use of ‘extreme positive emotion words’ (great, fantastic) the other ways to detect lies in online and teleconference communication are references to general knowledge (‘as you know’), use of ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, fewer hesitation words (ums and ahs), excessive swearing, and so on.

The article in The Economist is based on the academic paper written by two Stanford scholars. They put a solid research effort into detecting some paternity in online communication. While we should treat it with some reserve, as The Economist journalist did, there is a real question about differences between face-to-face and other forms of remote communication, be they teleconference, Skype, e-mail, etc.

We at Diplo have noticed some new ‘techno-adjusted’ excuses for the late submission of assignments by students. While this collection of excuses includes traditional ones such as hard-disk failure, virus attack, filtering e-mail to spam, the excuses are becoming more innovative…

What is your view, comparing face-to-face communication to remote communication?

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