Deception takes effort. Your intuition may have already known that, but now it’s been confirmed by researchers at Brigham Young University. In their study of online conversations, when students were asked to create lies they found that deceptive answers took 10% longer to compose. In addition to varying times for responses, lies also tend to be shorter and liars make more edits while responding.

Dr. Tom Meservy, BYU professor of information systems, sees the time tracking as a potential tool for tracking real-time liars online.

Digital conversations are a fertile ground for deception because people can easily conceal their identity and their messages often appear credible. Unfortunately, humans are terrible at detecting deception. We’re creating methods to correct that.

While a particularly long wait for a text response doesn’t mean someone is lying, the study reveals that time-based patterns can help to identify habitual liars.