We’ve talked about Twitter morality and how it’s easier to be nasty using email than to confront people face to face. Scientists have found that it’s easier for people to lie on the internet too.

Forensic psychologist Michael Woodworth says that lying to someone in person might make you provide certain signals that give away the fact that you’re trying to deceive them, but lying online avoids the physical cues that can give you away. He says, “When people are interacting face to face, there is something called the ‘motivational impairment effect,’ where your body will give off some cues as you become more nervous and there’s more at stake with your lie. In a computer-mediated environment, the exact opposite occurs.” In other words, we subconsciously feel safe from detection, so we start telling LOTS of lies!

This means that if someone tells you they love you (or HATE you) over the internet, it would be best to suggest that you meet for coffee, so you can discuss it in person.

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