How we learn to lie to be polite…

From the latest issue of International Journal of Behavioral Development (Vol. 31, No. 1), a Canadian study of children’s lies. From the abstract:

Prosocial lie-telling behavior in children between 3 and 11 years of age was examined using an undesirable gift paradigm […] the majority of children told a white lie and this tendency increased with age. Coding of children’s facial expressions using Ekman and Friesen’s (1978) Facial Action Coding System revealed significant but small differences between lie-tellers and control children in terms of both positive and negative facial expressions. Detailed parental instruction facilitated children’s display of appropriate verbal and nonverbal expressive behaviors when they received an undesirable gift.


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