An up­side to life if your kid’s a good liar

CityPress - - News - STAFF RE­PORTER news@city­press.co.za

Chil­dren with ex­cel­lent mem­o­ries are bet­ter at telling lies, child psy­chol­o­gists have found.

This af­ter an experiment that tested chil­dren aged six and seven by giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to cheat in a trivia game and lie about their ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the BBC, 114 chil­dren from four Bri­tish schools were tested dur­ing the experiment. Chil­dren who were good at ly­ing per­formed bet­ter in tests of ver­bal mem­ory and were able to re­mem­ber a greater num­ber of words.

This means they are good at jug­gling a great deal of in­for­ma­tion, even when they are telling a lie.

The re­searchers used hid­den cam­eras dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer game they played with the kids. This al­lowed them to iden­tify those who peeked at the an­swer to a fic­ti­tious ques­tion, even though they had been told not to.

Only a quar­ter of the chil­dren sur­veyed were found to have cheated by ac­tu­ally look­ing at the an­swer.

Us­ing more ques­tions, re­searchers were able to de­ter­mine who was a good liar or a bad one.

Dr Elena Hoicka, a de­vel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gist from the Univer­sity of Sheffield, said there was an up­side to a child who was good at ly­ing.

“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,” said Hoicka.

“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,” she added.

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