Children's Lie-Telling and Self-Awareness as an Honesty Promoting Technique
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The present study investigated how social-cognitive development relates to children’s lie-telling and the effectiveness of a novel honesty promoting technique (i.e., self-awareness). Sixty-four children were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter’s absence and were later asked about whether they had peeked as a measure of their honesty. Half of the children were questioned in the self-awareness condition and half in the control condition. Additionally, children completed a battery of cognitive and social-cognitive tests to assess executive functioning and theory-of-mind understanding. While first-order theory-of-mind understanding, inhibitory control, and visuospatial working memory did not significantly relate to children’s lie-telling, measures of inhibitory control in conjunction with working memory and complex working memory were significantly related to children’s lie-telling. Finally, the novel honesty promoting technique was effective: children in the self-aware condition lied significantly less often than children in the control condition.