Victoria Talwar Explains Lying to Newsweek Magazine

Published: 10 March 2023

ECP's Dr. Victoria Talwar, was featured in Newsweek Magazine's article "Here's How Science Explains Liars Like George Santos" by Dan Hurley:

Lying turns out to be a very teenage thing to do, as most parents learn."Lying peaks in adolescence and then declines all through adulthood and into the senior years," says Victoria Talwar, professor of developmental psychology at McGill University and author of The Truth About Lying: Teaching Honesty to Children at Every Age and Stage (APA LifeTools, 2022).

Preschoolers lie, too, but not very convincingly, Talwar says, and usually just to get out of trouble. ("Did you eat the last cookie?" "No," the toddler says, with chocolate smudged on her face.) By elementary school, the lies become more complex, and are often aimed at puffing up their reputation. "A boy in my son's class said he had taken a trip to Mexico and brought back a parrot," Talwar says. "He had no parrot. He was trying to get attention."

Given how common the occasional childhood lie can be, Talwar urges parents not to freak over it. "I've seen parents get very upset," she says. "The worst time by far was when I had a parent who flipped out because her four-year-old had lied to her. She was a fundamentalist Christian. She called her child a sinner."


Read the complete Newsweek Article.

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