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Study: Liars take longer to text back

Monday - 9/9/2013, 10:21am  ET

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A study found liars wrote shorter messages than those telling the truth. (Thinkstock)

Study says liars take longer to respond

WTOP's Max Smith reports

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WASHINGTON - There's some new advice for what to look for if you suspect someone is lying to you in a text message or online chat. Researchers say liars take longer to respond.

Work by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Brigham Young University and the University of Arizona found that college students who were told to tell some lies to a chatbot took longer to write their lies, and they made more edits to the untruthful messages as opposed to truthful messages.

Also, the study found liars wrote shorter messages than those telling the truth.

"Digital conversations are a fertile ground for deception because people can easily conceal their identity and their messages often appear credible," BYU professor of information systems Tom Meservy said in a news release. "Unfortunately, humans are terrible at detecting deception. We're creating methods to correct that."

The researchers say the results could help create a program that would automatically flag when a person may be lying online. It could be useful for a wide range of things beyond conversations among friends, including online dating or customer service exchanges.

The study is set to be published online this week in the journal ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems.

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