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The Earlier a Child Starts to Lie, the Smarter They Are

The Earlier a Child Starts to Lie, the Smarter They Are

Lying is bad, and you shouldn’t do it. Right?

It turns out that lying may not actually be as bad as people believe. In our society lying is frowned up, and many people believe that liars are untrustworthy, self-serving people who try to take advantage of the other people around them.

While this can be true sometimes, it isn’t always the case. Of course no-one likes the idea of being lied to, especially if the liar is their partner or friend, but it turns out that liars aren’t necessarily bad people. In fact, they may be smarter and more successful than the people who lie less frequently!

Here is everything you need to know about lying.

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Lying May Be A Sign Of Success

Most parents hate the idea of their child lying to them, but recent research has found that it could be an indicator of success [1]. The research, which was completed at the Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto, has found that children who can lie effectively may be more successful in later life.

It can be tempting to think that all lies are bad, but when children lie it is an indicator of intelligence. This is because intelligence is required to work out if you should lie or not, so the earlier a child starts to lie, the smarter they are!

Lying also helps children to develop an executive function in their brain, which gives them the ability to know the truth but to keep it in their mind so they can solve the problem in another way.

The study director Dr. Kang Lee said that lying in children could mean that they will one day grow up to be bankers or politicians. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should try to raise a liar, but it is important to be aware that lying isn’t always a bad thing – especially when children do it.

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Lies Are A Normal Part Of Society

Do you think that you are a liar? Most people like to imagine that they are honest and fair, but Bella De Paulo, a PhD professor from the University of Virginia, believes that no-one can go three weeks without lying. [2]

That’s right; no-one! Every year the professor challenges her students to go three weeks without lying, and every year they always fail. But why is this?

DePaulo told Psychology Today that; “Everyday lies are really part of the fabric of social life.” While some lies are self-serving and manipulative, most lies just help to smooth over awkward or unpleasant situations, or they help protect the egos of your loved ones.

Can You Go Three Weeks Without Lying?

It seems that lying is a normal part of society, but it is important to distinguish the difference between different lies. While a little white lie can actually benefit your relationships, choosing to manipulate others for your own gain is something that should generally be avoided.

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However, new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has found that people will often make self-serving decisions in ambiguous situations. [3]

For example, people are more likely to lie and alter numbers if it means that they will be paid more. In one experiment the researchers asked participants to watch a computer screen as it shows the rolls of six different dice. With each role the participants were asked to report the number of the dice that fell closest to a target on the screen. The participants were also told that they would be paid for the number, and the number the number the higher the pay out.

The researchers found that participants were likely to tell small lies to benefit themselves. For instance, many participants reported the wrong dice with a higher number to increase their pay out. This may seem devious, but most people don’t actually view this behaviour as cheating (when they are doing it themselves). This is because the ambiguousness of the situation allows the person to validate their behaviour.

Shaul Shalvi, the study co-author, said; “People will bend the rules to the extent that they can maintain an honest self-view.”

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“The more ambiguous the situation, the more likely people are to view the facts in a way that will serve their self-interest.”

This indicates that lying is an avoidable part of society, and it isn’t all bad. Lying in children is often an indicator of future success, and many adults tell small lies to further their personal success – especially if they are in an ambiguous situation. Of course, everyone should avoid pathological lying!

Reference

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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