Toddlers who learn to lie early in life do better later on than those who are honest, Canadian research has suggested.
It takes complex brain patterns to produce a lie — an early indicator of overall higher intelligence, the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University said.
Researchers looked at the development of 1,200 children ages 2 to 17 and found that only one-fifth of 2-year-olds had the ability to lie. That ability marked an important developmental stage, researchers claimed.
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By the age of 4, 90 percent of children had learned to lie, and the rate at which “lying ability” increases hit a peak at the age of 12.
Dr. Kang Lee, the Institute’s director, said lying in early childhood shouldn’t overly concern parents: “Their children are not going to turn out to be pathological liars. Almost all children lie,” he told the BBC.
He added: “Those who have better cognitive development lie because they can cover up their tracks. It is a sign that they have reached a new developmental stage.”
Dr. Kang tested children’s honesty by ordering them not to look at a toy placed behind them, even though he had left the room.
He videotaped how the children responded and returned to ask them if they had looked at the toy.