It comes as no surprise that our behavior changes when other people are watching us. For instance, people laugh louder when watching TV with others than they do when watching TV by themselves.
And by simply placing a pair of eyes on a computer screen, people act more cooperatively. People are more generous and people are more likely to donate money when they feel they are being watched - even if it is by a fake pair of eyes.
And when it comes to lying, a new survey released today shows that people prefer telling lies when no one can see them doing it. People prefer to tell lies over the phone, through a text message, or over e-mail because they feel a lot less guilty about lying when it is not done face-to-face. Along the same line, the BBC also reports that people prefer to lie over e-mail at work.
The moral of the story? People feel more comfortable behaving badly, even lying to loved ones, when no one is looking over their shoulder. Our behavior, to a certain extent, is influenced by whether we think we are being observed.
Will technology, which physically separates us from each other, ultimately make lying more common? It seems so.