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Times Live: Lying is the smart thing for kids to do

Published: 6 Jun 2010

Lying in childhood is normal, and research has shown that children as young as 2½ will lie to get out of trouble. So parents who believe their young children don't lie may be fooling themselves - or being fooled. Lying has also been related to intelligence...

Lying in childhood is normal, and research has shown that children as young as 2½ will lie to get out of trouble. So parents who believe their young children don't lie may be fooling themselves - or being fooled. Lying has also been related to intelligence. Dr Victoria Talwar, a developmental researcher at Montreal's McGill University, has said that "although we think of truthfulness as a young child's paramount virtue, it turns out that lying is the more advanced skill". She said: "A child who is going to lie must recognise the truth, intellectually conceive of an alternate reality, and be able to convincingly sell that new reality to someone else." So, in order to lie a child needs more sophisticated intellectual development and social skills than are needed for honesty.

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