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Children with good memory are good liars

If you have noticed your child is good at telling fibs, there is no need to worry…

 

According to a study by a team of child psychology researchers that just means they are unusually bright.

A team of experts have tested a group of six and seven-year-olds, giving each one an opportunity to cheat in a trivia game and then lie about their actions.

They found that the best liars were able to make and maintain slick cover stories without getting caught out.

US lead author Dr Tracy Alloway, from the University of North Florida, said: “This research shows that thought processes, specifically verbal working memory, are important to complex social interactions like lying because the children needed to juggle multiple pieces of information while keeping the researcher’s perspective in mind.”

During the study children were given two easy questions: “what noise does a dog make?” and “what colour are bananas?”

They were then asked if they knew the name of the cartoon character Spaceboy.

Leaving the child alone for a short time, experts used a hidden camera to film their response to knowing that there was a card on the table that revealed the answer.

A quarter of the children cheated by looking.

Researchers said if they covered their tracks when asked by pretending not to know, or deliberately guessing wrongly, they were classified as good liars.

Those who ended up revealing that they knew more than they should, were rated as poor fibbers.

Psychologist Dr Elena Hoicka, a member of the team from the University of Sheffield, said: “While parents are usually not too proud when their kids lie, they can at least be pleased to discover that when their children are lying well, it means their children are becoming better at thinking and have good memory skills.

“We already know that adults lie in approximately a fifth of their social exchanges lasting 10 or more minutes, so it’s interesting to know why some children are able to tell more porkies than others.

“We’ll now be looking to move the research forward to discover more about how children first learn to lie.”

Scientists have said that they want to look further into how children first learn to lie and are asking parents with children of up to four years old to sign up for further research.

http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/psychology/research/groups/developmental/take_part

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