How Do You Know a Colleague Is Lying in His Email?

He's being wordy.

In my emails, lack of enthusiasm and longwindedness are 100% directly related: Hi Meredith, I would really like to help you move all your belongings (including that 200-lb armoire?) out of your duplex on Saturday night. It just depends on an already-scheduled dinner event with my extended family, including some very old relatives, that's about 30 miles away that might or might not end before midnight, and also on the availability of the local cab service in suburban Maryland, but I really want to be there and please let me know how I can be of help!!!!

This study investigated changes in both the liar's and the conversational partner's linguistic style across truthful and deceptive dyadic communication in a synchronous text-based setting. An analysis of 242 transcripts revealed that liars produced more words, more sense-based words (e.g., seeing, touching), and used fewer self-oriented but more other-oriented pronouns when lying than when telling the truth. In addition, motivated liars avoided causal terms when lying, whereas unmotivated liars tended to increase their use of negations. Conversational partners also changed their behavior during deceptive conversations, despite being blind to the deception manipulation. Partners asked more questions with shorter sentences when they were being deceived, and matched the liar's linguistic style along several dimensions. The linguistic patterns in both the liar and the partner's language use were not related to deception detection, suggesting that partners were unable to use this linguistic information to improve their deception detection accuracy.

If you want to learn to lie better (I sure do), read the full story at Bakadesuyo.