New research: Cross-Cultural Differences in Children’s Choices, Categorizations, and Evaluations of Truths and Lies

secretschildrenFrom the latest issue of Developmental Psychology, some Canadian-Chinese collaborative research on how children evaluate truth and lies.

From the abstract:

This study examined cross-cultural differences and similarities in children’s moral understanding of individual- or collective-oriented lies and truths. […] Most children in both cultures labeled lies as lies and truths as truths. The major cultural differences lay in choices and moral evaluations. Chinese children chose lying to help a collective but harm an individual, and they rated it less negatively than lying with opposite consequences. Chinese children rated truth telling to help an individual but harm a group less positively than the alternative. Canadian children did the opposite. These findings suggest that cross-cultural differences in emphasis on groups versus individuals affect children’s choices and moral judgments about truth and deception.

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Photo credit: michaelatacker, Creative Commons License.

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