Victoria Talwar, ECP, Publishes Paper in Developmental Psychology on Children's Honesty Promotion Techniques

Published: 3 April 2024

Victoria Talwar, ECP Professor, Faculty of Education Interim Dean, and Lab Director of the Talwar Child Development Research Lab, recently published a paper in Developmental Psychology that investigates the effects of honesty promotion techniques on children of different ages.

This study examined four honesty promotion techniques, including reading moral stories about honesty, increasing self-awareness, promising to tell the truth, and informing children about the positive effects of being honest. Techniques chosen to promote truth-telling by enhancing a child’s self-awareness and social obligation to honesty.

To promote preschool-aged children’s honesty, increasing self-awareness and a combination of modelling honesty and positive consequences were equally effective. In seven- to eight-year-old children, promising to tell the truth, modelling honesty, and positive consequences of honesty were all successful in promoting honesty. Notably, a combination of modelling truth-telling and observing positive consequences of being honest effectively reduced lie-telling across all ages. 

“It may be that for younger children seeing themselves in the mirror reminded them of the adults’ expectations [for] their honesty and heightened their awareness of what they were doing,” Talwar explained. 

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