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Friday, August 31, 2018

Learning to lie has cognitive benefits, study finds | Psychology & Psychiatry - Medical Xpress

It's a tenet of Parenting 101 that kids should tell the truth. But a recent study co-authored by the University of Toronto's Kang Lee suggests that learning to lie can confer cognitive benefits. 

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

"As parents and teachers – and society as a whole – we always worry that if a kid lies there will be terrible consequences," Lee says. "But it turns out there is a big difference between kids who lie earlier and those who lie later. The kids who lie earlier tend to have much better cognitive abilities."

Lee, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and his co-authors in China, Singapore and the United States, based their findings on an experiment in which they asked 42 preschool-aged children in China – who showed no initial ability to lie – how to play a hide-and-seek game...

On standardized tests used to measure executive function, including self-control and "theory of mind" – the capacity to understand another person's intentions and beliefs – the kids who were taught deception out-performed the control group.

"With just a few days of instruction, young children quickly learned to deceive and gained immediate from doing so," the researchers write in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
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Additional resources
Xiao Pan Ding et al. Learning to deceive has cognitive benefits, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (2018).  
DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2018.07.008 

Source: Medical Xpress