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ERIC Number: EJ906354
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0965
Chinese Children's Evaluations of White Lies: Weighing the Consequences for Recipients
Ma, Fengling; Xu, Fen; Heyman, Gail D.; Lee, Kang
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, v108 n2 p308-321 Feb 2011
This research examined how Chinese children make moral judgments about lie telling and truth telling when facing a "white lie" or "politeness" dilemma in which telling a blunt truth is likely to hurt the feelings of another. We examined the possibility that the judgments of participants (7-11 years of age, N=240) would differ as a function of the social context in which communication takes place. The expected social consequences were manipulated systematically in two studies. In Study 1, participants rated truth telling more negatively and rated lie telling more positively in a public situation where telling a blunt truth is especially likely to have negative social consequences. In Study 2, participants rated truth telling more positively and rated lie telling more negatively in a situation where accurate information is likely to be helpful for the recipient to achieve future success. Both studies showed that with increased age, children's evaluations became significantly influenced by the social context, with the strongest effects being seen among the 11-year-olds. These results suggest that Chinese children learn to take anticipated social consequences into account when making moral judgments about the appropriateness of telling a blunt truth versus lying to protect the feelings of another. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China