By Association for Psychological Science
Kids who are taught to reason about the mental states of others are more likely to use deception to win a reward, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
The findings indicate that developing “theory of mind” (ToM) — a cognitive ability critical to many social interactions — may enable children to engage in the sophisticated thinking necessary for intentionally deceiving another person.
“Telling a lie successfully requires deliberately creating a false belief in the mind of the lie recipient, and ToM could provide an important cognitive tool to enable children to do so,” the researchers write.
Research suggests that children begin to tell lies somewhere around ages 2 and 3, and studies have shown a correlation between children’s theory of mind and their tendency to lie. Psychological scientists Genyue Fu of Hangzhou Normal University in China, Kang Lee of the University of Toronto in Canada, and colleagues wanted to see if they could find causal evidence for a link between the two.
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