Entries in Liar (1)


Why You Should Be Thankful When Your 2-Year-Old Lies

Hemera/Thinkstock(TORONTO, Canada) -- Kids as young as age two can and do, in fact, lie -- but a new study says that's not a bad thing.

A recent as-yet-unpublished study by Dr. Kang Lee, the director of the Institute of Child Study in Toronto, found that about 20 percent of 2-year-olds lie to cover up transgressions -- i.e. peeking at a toy when researchers expressly told them not to, and then lying about peeking at said toy.

The proportion of liars to non-liars gets higher as children get older: 36 percent of three-year-olds Lee tested in an earlier study lied and so did the majority of those between age four and seven.

After you’ve let these stats sink in consider this: If you child’s metaphorical pants are on fire, it could actually be a good thing.
Lee and experts have determined that if a child can lie, that means he or she is also capable of understanding other people’s minds -- what psychologists call “theory of mind” -- and also has developed the ability to perform such psychological feats as employing a strategy.

There is one caveat that Lee is quick to point out: When children grow up in punitive environments -- ie. getting pinched for peeking at that toy -- they may become ready liars for the sake of their own survival, as Lee found when he tested lying in children at a West African school that endorsed corporal punishment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio