Victoria Talwar

Academic title(s): 

Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Canada Research Chair, Tier II

Associate MemberInstitute for Human Development and Well-Being (IHDW)

Contact Information

Education Building, Room 548

Email address: 
victoria.talwar [at]
Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Ph.D., Queen's University
M.A., University of St. Andrews

Research areas: 
Development of lying in children
Theory of mind
Child witness testimony
Current research: 

I am interested in children’s social-cognitive development. My research interests include children’s verbal deception, children’s moral development, theory-of-mind understanding and behaviour; children’s expressive display rule knowledge and behaviour. In addition, I have investigated issues related to child witness testimony including child witness credibility and competence, lie detection and jury decision making. I am also interested in the influence of cross-cultural factors and attitudes to lying behaviour. My other interests include children's spirituality in relation to this social emotional adjustment and children's attitudes and perceptions of cyberbullying.

Current Research Grants

Dr. Talwar has received funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Fonds de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC), and the National Science Foundation.

Graduate supervision: 

Development of lying in children, including the cognitive-cultural-social factors affecting children's conceptual and moral knowledge about lying, theory of mind, and child witness testimony.

Selected publications: 

Articles in refereed journals

Talwar, V., Gomez-Garibello, C. & Shariff, S. (2014). Adolescents' Moral Evaluations and Ratings of Cyberbullying: The effect of veracity and intentionality behind the event. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 122-128. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.046

Lee, K., Talwar, V., McCarthy, A., Ross, I.., Evans, A., & Arruda, C. (2014). Can classic moral stories promote honesty in children? Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797614536401

Williams, S., Talwar, V., Lindsay, R.C.L., Bala, N. & Lee, K. (2014). Is the truth in your words? Distinguishing children’s deceptive and truthful statements. Journal of Criminology. vol. 2014, doi:10.1155/2014/547519

Williams, S., Kirmayer, M., Simon, T., & Talwar, V. (2013). Children’s antisocial and prosocial lies to familiar and unfamiliar adults. Infant and Child Development. doi: 10.1002/icd.1802

Brunet, M.K., Evans, A.D., Talwar, V., Lindsay, R.C.L., Bala, N.C., & Lee, K. (2013). How children report true and fabricated stressful and non-stressful life events. Psychiatry , Psychology, and the Law. doi:10.1080/13218719.2012.750896

Kattan, W., & Talwar, V. (2013). Psychiatry residents' attitudes towards spirituality in psychiatry. Academic Psychiatry,37, 360-362.doi:10.11.76/appi.ap.13030027

Saykaly, C., Talwar, V., Lee, K., Lindsay, R.C.L., & Bala, N. (2013) The influence of multiple interviews on the verbal markers of children’s deception. Law and Human Behavior, 37(3), 187-196. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000023

Saykaly, C., Talwar, V., Lindsay, R. C. L., Bala, N. C., Lee, K., Bertrand, M., & Nugent, S. M. (2012). Adults’ ability to detect deception of stressful and non-stressful stories of children. Psychology, Crime & Law, (July), 1–15

Moore, K., Talwar, V., & Bosacki, S. (2012) Canadian children’s perceptions of spirituality: diverse voices. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 17 (3), 217-234. doi:10.1080/1364436X.2012.742040

Talwar,V., & Crossman, A. M. (2012). Children’s lies and their detection: Implications for child witness testimony. Developmental Review, 32, 337-359. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2012.06.004

Talwar, V., Zwaigenbaum, L., Goulden, K. J., Manji, S., Loomes, C., & Rasmussen, C. (2012). Lie-Telling Behavior in Children With Autism and Its Relation to False-Belief Understanding. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27(2), 122–129.

Talwar, V., Crossman, A., Muir, S., & Williams, S. (2011). Adult detection of children’s selfish and polite lies: Experience matters. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42, 2837-2857.

Moore, K., Talwar, V., Bosacki, S., Park-Saltzman, J. (2011). Children’s perceptions of spirituality. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 57, 107-110.

Talwar, V., Carlson, S. & Lee, K. (2011). Effects of a punitive environment on children's cool and hot executive functioning: A Natural experiment. Social Development, 20, 805-826.

Evans, A. D., Brunet, M. K., Talwar, V., Bala, N., Lindsay, R. C. L., & Lee, K. (2011). The Effects of Repetition on Children’s True and False Reports. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, (February 2012), 1–13. doi:10.1080/13218719.2011.615808

Talwar, V., & Crossman, A. (2011). From little white lies to filthy liars: The evolution of honesty and deception in young children. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 40, 139-179.

Bosacki, S., Moore, K., Talwar, V., & Park-Saltzman, J. (2011).Preadolescents’gendered spiritual identities and self-regulation. Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education, 303-316.

Popliger, M., Talwar, V., & Crossman, A. M. (2011). Predictors of children’s prosocial lie-telling: Motivation, socialization variables, and moral understanding. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 11, 373-92.

Talwar, V. & Lee, K. (2011). The effects of punitive environment on lying in young children: a naturalistic study. Child Development, 82, 1751-1758.

Xu, F., Bao, X., Talwar, V., & Lee, K. (2010). Prosocial lying in children: from concept to action. Child Development, 81, 581-596

Bala, N., Lee, K., Lindsay, R.C.L., & Talwar, V. (2010). The competency of children to testify: Psychological research informing Canadian law reform. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 18, 53 - 77.

Talwar, V., Crossman, A.M., Renaud, S-J., Williams, S. (2009). Pants on fire? Detecting children’s lies. Applied Developmental Psychology, 13, 119-129.

Talwar, V., Crossman, A.M., Renaud, S-J., Williams, S. (2009). Pants on fire? Detecting children’s lies. Applied Developmental Psychology, 13, 119-129.

Rasmussen, C., Talwar, V., & Wyper, K. (2009). The relation between theory of mind and executive functions in children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Research Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 16, 370-380

Leach, A.M, Lindsay, R.C.L, Koehla, R., Beaudry, J.L., Bala, N., Lee, K., & Talwar, V. (2009). The reliability of lie detection performance. Law and Human Behaviour. 33, 96-109

Lyon, T. D., Quas, J. A., Malloy, L.C., & Talwar, V. (2008). Coaching, truth induction, and young maltreated children’s false allegations and false denials. Child Development79, 914-929.

Talwar, V. & Lee, K. (2008). Social and Cognitive Correlates of Children’s Lying Behavior. Child Development, 79, 866-881.

Talwar, V., Gordon, H., & Lee, K.. (2007) “Lie-telling behavior in school-age children.” Developmental Psychology, 43, 804-810.

Rasmussen, C., Talwar, V., Loomes, C., & Andrews, G. H. (2007). Lie-telling in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm069

Talwar, V., Murphy S., Lee, K. (2007) White lie-telling in children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31, 1-11

Talwar, V., Lee, K., Bala, N. & Lindsay, R. C. L. (2006) Adults’ judgments of children’s coached reports. Law and Human Behavior, 30, 561-570

Bala, N., Talwar, V & Harris J. (2006). Voices of the children. Canadian Family Law Quarterly, 24, 221-279.

Bala, N., Duvall-Antonacopoulos, K., Lindsay, R., Lee, K., & Talwar, V. (2005). Bill C-2: Reforming Canada’s child witness laws. Canadian Criminal Reports, 32, 48-182

Talwar, V., Lee, K., Bala, N., Lindsay, RCL. (2004). Children's lie-telling to conceal a parent's transgression: Legal implications. Law & Human Behavior, 28, 411-435.

Leach, A.; Talwar, V.; Lee, K.; Bala, N.; Lindsay, RCL. (2004). Intuitive lie detection of children's deception by law enforcement officials and university students. Law & Human Behavior, 28, 661-685.

Talwar, V., Lee, K., Bala, N., & Lindsay, R.C.L. (2002). Children’s conceptual knowledge of lying and its relation to their actual behaviors: implications for court competence examinations. Law and Human Behavior, 26, 395-415.

Talwar, V. & Lee, K. (2002). Development of lying to conceal a transgression: children's control of expressive behavior during verbal deception. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 26, 436-444.

Talwar, V. & Lee, K. (2002). Emergence of white-lie telling in children between 3 and 7 years of age. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 48, 160-181.