Younger children have a binary take on truth and lies, but this changes when they get older

From experience to meaning...

Not long after we’re born, we’re already able to lie. But what to children think about someone telling lies? A new moral development study suggests that younger children have a binary take on truth and lies — while older children take intent and outcomes more into consideration.

From the press release:

Parents don’t like it when children lie. But what do the kids themselves think about it? New research suggests truth telling isn’t black and white.

As children get older, their moral evaluations of both lies and truths is increasingly influenced by whether they think this behaviour will cause harm to either others or themselves.

Victoria Talwar, a Canada Research Chair in McGill’s Dept. of Educational and Counselling Psychology, led a research team that was interested in how a child’s moral understanding develops. They studied the behaviour of close to 100 children, aged six to 12.

The researchers showed the children a series…

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