Children with a better working memory have been shown to tell more effective lies. (The Signpost/Michelle Nelson)
Children with a better working memory have been shown to tell more effective lies. (The Signpost/Michelle Nelson)

Researchers have found a link between a good working memory and a child’s ability to lie effectively. Dr. Tracy Alloway, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Florida, was a lead researcher on the study.

The study focuses on the verbal working memory. The working memory is defined as the ability to process information.

The study was done on a group of 137 children ages 6 and 7. Each child was asked a set of questions that were printed onto cards. The cards also had answers to the questions printed on the back in different colors. The children were aware the answers were present and were instructed not to look at them.

Researchers then left the children alone with the cards and set up cameras, which allowed them to observe which children looked at the answers and which didn’t.

When the researchers returned, they asked the children the same questions, and those who had looked at the back of the card gave the correct answer.

Researchers then asked questions about the color of the answer on the back. Those children that had higher verbal working memories were able to lie effectively about the color of the answer in order to prove that they didn’t look at the answer.

The children who had lower verbal working memory answered the questions correctly. This verbally gave away the fact that they had looked at the back of the card.

Researchers also tested the children’s visuo-spatial working memory. However, they found no connection between the visuo-spatial working memory and the ability to lie effectively. Researchers believe this to be caused by the fact that telling lies depends more on verbal memory than visual memory.

This is the first study that has shown a strong link between verbal working memory and lying, instead of working memory in general.

 

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