Learning to Lie

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New York Times Magazine

When a 3-year-old fibs, parents typically assume the child is too young to understand that lying is wrong and will “outgrow” such fantasy. However, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State and McGill universities, nearly all children lie with greater frequency as they age, and lying becomes a fluid part of each child’s day by about age 7. The article explores the theory that children learn to lie by hearing their parents tell white lies, and by being encouraged to be tactful and avoid conflict – even at the expense of the truth. By the time children reach their teens, lying is endemic. In a recent study, 98 percent of teens reported lying to their parents. Feb. 11, www.nymag.com.