Understanding deception: development through executive function and social cognition

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University of Alabama Libraries

In order to best prepare children for school, we need to know what factors contribute to their success, both academically and in social situations. Both executive functions and social skills are needed to get children ready for school and for the more socially ambiguous situations it will bring. One example of that would be deception; both understanding when someone else is deceiving you and knowing if it is appropriate to tell a lie yourself. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between children who tell lies for their own self-gain and those who lie to please others in terms of their age, vocabulary, executive functions, and social skills. Additionally, the study examined which of those factors contributed to children being able to successfully detect when someone else was lying to them. Results showed that children who lie to please others tend to be younger and perform worse on executive functions, vocabulary and social skills. For deception detection, those who were older and had stronger executive functions were better able to detect when someone was deceiving them.

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