Article

Emergence of Lying in Very Young Children

Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 01/2013; 49(10). DOI: 10.1037/a0031409
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Lying is a pervasive human behavior. Evidence to date suggests that from the age of 42 months onward, children become increasingly capable of telling lies in various social situations. However, there is limited experimental evidence regarding whether very young children will tell lies spontaneously. The present study investigated the emergence of lying in very young children. Sixty-five 2- to 3-year-olds were asked not to peek at a toy when the experimenter was not looking. The majority of children (80%) transgressed and peeked at the toy. When asked whether they had peeked at the toy, most 2-year-old peekers were honest and confessed to their peeking, but with increased age, more peekers denied peeking and thus lied. However, when asked follow-up questions that assessed their ability to maintain their initial lies, most children failed to conceal their lie by pretending to be ignorant of the toy's identity. Additionally, after controlling for age, children's executive functioning skills significantly predicted young children's tendency to lie. These findings suggest that children begin to tell lies at a very young age. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

12 Followers
 · 
949 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although numerous studies of preschoolers report robust associations between performance on tests of executive function (EF) and theory of mind (ToM), a lack of developmentally appropriate tasks so far has limited research on these cognitive skills in younger children. Here, we present new batteries of EF and ToM tasks that were administered to 140 two-year-olds from predominantly disadvantaged families, with analyses based on 129 children. Our results showed a strong association between EF and ToM, which remained significant when effects of verbal ability were controlled. Individual differences in EF and ToM were also examined in relation to both distal family factors (social disadvantage, number of siblings) and proximal family factors (quality of child's relationships with parents and siblings). Social disadvantage predicted significant variance in both EF and ToM but did not contribute to the association between these domains. Associations between positive parent-child relationships and both EF and ToM were nonsignificant when verbal ability was controlled. In contrast, positive sibling relationships predicted significant variance in ToM, even controlling for age, verbal ability, EF, social disadvantage, and parent-child relationships.
    Developmental Neuropsychology 02/2005; 28(2):645-68. DOI:10.1207/s15326942dn2802_5 · 2.67 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Children tell prosocial lies for self- and other-oriented reasons. However, it is unclear how motivational and socialization factors affect their lying. Furthermore, it is unclear whether children's moral understanding and evaluations of prosocial lie scenarios (including perceptions of vignette characters' feelings) predict their actual prosocial behaviors. These were explored in two studies. In Study 1, 72 children (36 second graders and 36 fourth graders) participated in a disappointing gift paradigm in either a high-cost condition (lost a good gift for a disappointing one) or a low-cost condition (received a disappointing gift). More children lied in the low-cost condition (94%) than in the high-cost condition (72%), with no age difference. In Study 2, 117 children (42 preschoolers, 41 early elementary school age, and 34 late elementary school age) participated in either a high- or low-cost disappointing gift paradigm and responded to prosocial vignette scenarios. Parents reported on their parenting practices and family emotional expressivity. Again, more children lied in the low-cost condition (68%) than in the high-cost condition (40%); however, there was an age effect among children in the high-cost condition. Preschoolers were less likely than older children to lie when there was a high personal cost. In addition, compared with truth-tellers, prosocial liars had parents who were more authoritative but expressed less positive emotion within the family. Finally, there was an interaction between children's prosocial lie-telling behavior and their evaluations of the protagonist's and recipient's feelings. Findings contribute to understanding the trajectory of children's prosocial lie-telling, their reasons for telling such lies, and their knowledge about interpersonal communication.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 06/2011; 110(3):373-92. DOI:10.1016/j.jecp.2011.05.003 · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Young children's ability to tell a strategic lie by making it consistent with the physical evidence of their transgression was investigated along with the sociocognitive correlates of such lie-telling behaviors. In Experiment 1, 247 Chinese children between 3 and 5 years of age (126 boys) were left alone in a room and asked not to lift a cup to see the contents. If children lifted up the cup, the contents would be spilled and evidence of their transgression would be left behind. Upon returning to the room, the experimenter asked children whether they peeked and how the contents of the cup ended up on the table. Experiment 1 revealed that young children are able to tell strategic lies to be consistent with the physical evidence by about 4 or 5 years of age, and this ability increases in sophistication with age. Experiment 2, which included 252 Chinese 4-year-olds (127 boys), identified 2 sociocognitive factors related to children's ability to tell strategic lies. Specifically, both children's theory-of-mind understanding and inhibitory control skills were significantly related to their ability to tell strategic lies in the face of physical evidence. The present investigation reveals that contrary to the prevailing views, even young children are able to tell strategic lies in some contexts.
    Developmental Psychology 01/2011; 47(1):39-49. DOI:10.1037/a0020787 · 3.21 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
534 Downloads
Available from
May 27, 2014