Eileen Chou, assistant professor from University of Virginia, found that while e-signatures and hand signatures share the same objective function, documents signed electronically evoke strikingly different and significantly more negative psychological reactions.
"People don't trust the value of e-signatures, citing as their main reason the sense that e-signers were less involved and committed," she was quoted as saying in a news journal report. During the study, she randomly assigned participants to review a travel reimbursement, mortgage application, or leasing contract that had been signed either by hand or electronically.
They included four types of e-signatures in common use: PIN, avatar, checked box or software-generated signature. The results showed that reviewers found these common types of e-signatures to be less convincing and trustworthy than traditional hand signatures. However, software-generated signatures fared better than the others types of e-signatures, the author noted. The paper appeared in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.