Deception and its Detection Under Synchronous and Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication


As part of an ongoing research program investigating features of computer-mediated communication (CMC) that affect deception and its detection, an experiment was conducted to test the impact of synchronicity on communication processes, credibility assessments, deception detection, and team performance. At issue is whether various forms of CMC enable or deter successful deception. Synchronous (real-time) CMC was hypothesized to foster more involvement and mutuality during communication, more credibility for team members, and hence less detection of deception when it was present. Team performance was hypothesized to suffer under deception due to deceivers capitalizing on synchronous communication to build their credibility. Two-person teams conducted a decision-making task in real time (synchronous) or over the course of several days (asynchronous). In half of the pairs, one party was asked to be deceptive. The results indicated that participants in the synchronous mode were more involved, perceived more mutuality, and viewed their partners in a more favorable light, than participants in the asynchronous mode. Deceivers portrayed themselves as somewhat more credible than truthtellers. However, they were not perceived as more persuasive than truth-tellers. Participants in the deceptive condition made poorer decisions than participants in the truthful condition. Implications for CMC and future study are discussed.

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Correspondence to Judee K. Burgoon.

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Burgoon, J.K., Chen, F. & Twitchell, D.P. Deception and its Detection Under Synchronous and Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication. Group Decis Negot 19, 345–366 (2010).

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  • Synchronicity
  • Deception
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Computer mediated communication
  • Distributed team work
  • Communication process
  • Communication outcome