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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The emergence and development of children’s lie-telling is closely associated with their developing cognitive abilities. Telling a lie involves complicated cognitive functions including theory-of-mind understanding and executive functioning abilities. Recent research has found that lie-telling emerges in the preschool years and children’s abilities to maintain their lies improves with age. The current chapter reviews existing literature on the development of children’s lie-telling behavior and its relation to various aspects of children’s cognitive development. It covers the work of Lewis, Stanger, and Sullivan (1989), including the well-known guessing-game experiment, where the child is left alone with temptation and the instruction not to peek. Much of Talwar, Lee, et al.’s research into three-to-seven-year-old children’s lie-telling behavior is covered; and the interaction between these studies and Theory of Mind is emphasized; this is illuminated in the account of research using child subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Keywords: lie-telling, deception, honesty, children, executive functioning, Theory of Mind, social-cognition

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