Child Trends: Why lying may have a positive undertone

Kids can lie about being asleep, making a mess, or being dressed for school when they are clearly still in their pajamas, but some researchers are saying it could be a sign of positive brain development.

Developmental psychologists took 84 children and played a game with them every day for ten days. Most of the kids in the study were about three years old, an age when kids still don’t know how to lie.

For the game, the kids had to hide treats from the researcher. Then they would have to lie about the whereabouts of the treats to the adult in order to win them for ten days. 

The study found that the kids who knew how to control their impulses and who also knew that people can be tricked, were able to learn how to hone those skills more quickly than the kids who didn’t. But parents don’t be alarmed. Researchers say this is a sign of healthy brain development, critical to many social interactions.

A skill that can have its ups and downs. Experts say kids begin to lie around three or four years old.

The ability to guess what someone else is thinking and knowing how to influence someone else’s beliefs are at the root of deception. But on the other hand, researchers say those are also good traits for effective social interaction and communication.



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