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ERIC Number: EJ1168708
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7227
Young Children's Self-Benefiting Lies and Their Relation to Executive Functioning and Theory of Mind
Fu, Genyue; Sai, Liyang; Yuan, Fang; Lee, Kang
Infant and Child Development, v27 n1 Jan-Feb 2018
It is well established that children lie in different social contexts for various purposes from the age of 2 years. Surprisingly, little is known about whether very young children will spontaneously lie for personal gain, how self-benefiting lies emerge, and what cognitive factors affect the emergence of self-benefiting lies. To bridge this gap in the literature, we situated children between 2 and 4 years of age in a zero-sum game where children must lie to their opponent if they wanted to win a desirable reward. We found that the majority of young children did not lie even when they experienced personal losses repeatedly. However, some children spontaneously lied during the game; as the game progressed, more children lied. Further, we found that children's theory of mind understanding and executive functioning in terms of a combination of inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility had significant positive and unique correlations with how frequently children lied for personal gain. The present results taken together with the existing findings regarding children's lies for self-protection and politeness purposes suggest that the act of lying begins early in life. Further, its emergence and development are influenced by children's specific cognitive abilities in the domains of theory of mind understanding and executive functioning.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A