Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I lie

Assignment 4

Apparently, I don’t mess around. At least, that’s what my diary results would suggest. According to my diary, I am really not one for the casual lie. While my lies were spontaneous, they had a higher level of severity than I would have expected (mostly in an attempt to protect another’s feelings; not malicious pre-conceived plots to mask my identity). Now, this finding may represent the methodological flaw we’ve addressed in class at length: it is not easy to remember your lies at the end of the day. Perhaps it is not that I only lie when it’s important but rather that I only remember it in those cases.

Furthermore, this study did not require us to write down specific lies. While there is space allotted for it on the Lie-D forms, the directions only recommend filling it in if the lie doesn’t readily match up to the categories provided. Frankly, in this situation I would not have been comfortable filling in my specific lies as they would most likely have identified me as the test subject, revealing not just my specific lies but my feelings on them. Nevertheless, without the specific lie documented next to my coding for it, I lost my ability to revisit my coding for things like severity etc after I’d gained the perspective of monitoring my lies for an entire weekend.

Prior to having been involved in the study, I would have said that what I remembered more than the severe lie itself would be the uneasiness that accompanied it. Interestingly, I did not feel heightened discomfort when lying, a finding inconsistent with DePaulo’s in her analysis of discomfort. In reviewing my coding, I think the reason I didn’t feel uneasy is because the lies I told were frequently other-oriented.

Another methodological issue was avoiding the documentation of lies in front of the person you lied to. Forrest, Feldman and Happ use a retroactive ID technique that would be more effective for identifying lies.

My personal diary experience was also inconsistent with the Feature-based model described by Hancock et al. According to the feature-based model, the more synchronous and distributed, but less recordable the medium, the more deception will occur. Hancock et al did not find that the feature- based model held in their diary study and neither did I in mine. Hancock et al found the highest frequency of lies occurred over the telephone. Perhaps it is merely that I do not talk on the phone terribly often, but I did not lie once over the phone during my diary study. In my limited sampling, face-to-face was the medium under which I lied most often.

Consistent with DePaulo’s findings, I, as a woman, told several other-oriented lies – more than I expected. Because the experiment was conducted over a weekend I didn’t get to test out DePaulo’s findings on intimacy.

My average lie count was right on-par with both DePaulo and Hancock’s findings, just above 2 per day.


At 8:44 PM, Blogger Lauren Katzberg said...

I like how you explored the uneasiness that accompanies a lie. Interestingly enough, I did not feel much heightened discomfort during or after my lies either. Unlike you, however, my lies were mostly self-oriented. Are we terrible people? I would say no and guess that most people in the class were surpised to find how easily and guiltlessly they lied. When I reflect upon my day before I go to bed, I usually think about either happy and funny moments, or uncomfortable and unpleasant ones. I think that part of the reason why so many of us had problems recalling our lies when it came time to record them is that we did not have many uncomfortable/bad feelings associated with our lies. If we had, we would have been far more likely to remember them and, as a result, record them accurately.

I think it is interesting that over the course of the study you did not lie once over the phone because the majority of my lies were told with this medium. Don’t you ever have to get off the phone with your parents? You also make me curious as to what lies you were telling that you did not want to write down! I think that the discomfort you felt is common and that is probably why the researchers did not make this section mandatory. Great job, keep the lies coming.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Jenna Odett said...

I like your title. In fact, it'd probably work even better, "We Lie." Now that we've been through the diary process and analyzed our class as subjects, I think you make some important and noteworhty points. "Noteworthy" in particular because you bring up the fact that maybe taking some notes with our recorded lies might be a good idea. You say that you showed a pattern for only remembering important lies, probably because you would have remembered the importance of the conversation rather than the fact that you lied. You also mentioned specificity, or lack thereof. If we tried this experiment over again next weekend, would you agree to jot down a few notes separate from the forms to be able to revisit your interactions with more clarity? I understand the anonymity of the exercise, but what good is a recorded interaction if we can't remember it enough to discuss it...?

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Brad Hill said...

I am not sure how to react to the postings suggesting the ease and lack of discomfort associated with lying. However, I can’t have an overtly negative reaction because that would, more or less, paint me as a hypocrite.

I thought pointing out the shortcomings associated with not writing down lies was astute. If you could go back and examine exactly what you were lying about to get a better gauge on the severity of each lie I think some additional interesting results could be gleaned from the data. Would you have been as uncomfortable recording specific lies if you didn’t know the experimenters and classmates as well, or more accurately, if they didn’t know you?

I completely agree with your point about the problem of getting caught documenting the lies. If there were some way to be more discrete I think more accurate data would result. The PDA would be a good idea or anything object, like a cell phone, that you could tinker with in front of someone without being suspicious.


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