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.
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.