Children Who Lie May Be Naturally Smarter Than Those Who Don't - Study

Right up there with "don't hit," teaching your child not to lie is a pretty important parenting rule of thumb. 

But according to a new study conducted by psychologists at the University of North Florida and the University of Sheffield, you might want to rethink that philosophy. 

Why? If your kid can keep track of their fibs and keep a story straight, they're just exhibiting strong thought and memory skills, the researchers found.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 135 children between the ages of 6 and 7 were given the chance to see the answers in a trivia game. But they didn't know their actions were being recorded on a hidden camera.

After observing the children, researchers found that the ones who took the opportunity to sneak a peek at the answers and later denied it, did significantly better on a memory test. 

And they also performed better on the trivia test than those who remained honest during the game. So by lying, the children were challenged to use thinking skills to maintain their story and not lose the game.

"While parents are usually not too proud when their kids lie, they can at least be pleased to discover that when their children are lying well, it means their children are becoming better at thinking and have good memory skills," Dr. Elena Hoicka told The Telegraph.

The researchers' findings may be comforting to the parents of really good fibbers.

But more importantly, it could also help explain how humans developed communication. Dr. Hoicka and her team even plan on pushing their research further in order to try to discover how children first learn to lie.

"This research shows that thought processes, specifically verbal working memory, are important to complex social interactions like lying because the children needed to juggle multiple pieces of information while keeping the researcher's perspective in mind," said lead study author, Dr. Tracy Alloway.

[via Today]

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