To lie or not to lie? The influence of parenting and theory-of-mind understanding on three-year-old children’s honesty

Journal of Moral Education 44 (2):198-212 (2015)

Prior studies have demonstrated that social-cognitive factors such as children’s false-belief understanding and parenting style are related to children’s lie-telling behaviors. The present study aimed to investigate how earlier forms of theory-of-mind understanding contribute to children’s lie-telling as well as how parenting practices are related to children’s antisocial lie-telling behaviors. Seventy-three three-year-olds from Hangzhou, P. R. China were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter’s absence. The majority of children who peeked, lied about it. Children’s lies were positively related to performance on the knowledge-ignorance theory-of-mind task. Additionally, Control parenting, characterized by high levels of monitoring and demanding, unquestioning obedience, was negatively related to three-year-olds’ lying. The relation between Control parenting and lie-telling was partially mediated by children’s theory-of-mind understanding. These findings suggest that children’s early lie-telling behaviors are influenced by social and social-cognitive factors.
Keywords preschoolers   lying behavior   theory-of-mind   parenting
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DOI 10.1080/03057240.2015.1023182
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Young Children's Conceptions of Knowledge.Rachel Dudley - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (6):e12494.

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