Children Who Tell Lies ‘Have Better Memories And Thinking Skills’

Don’t worry if your kids are massive liars: children who tell fibs could have better memories and thinking skills. Researchers recruited 114 children aged 7 to 11, and allowed them to cheat at a trivia game and lie about it. They did this by letting them sneakily look at an answer to a question – even if they were told not to.

Surprisingly enough, only one quarter of the kids actually went ahead and looked at the answer, unaware that they were being recorded by hidden cameras. The children were then given verbal memory tests, and those who had looked at cheated on the previous test performed significantly better, remembering more words than those who didn’t cheat.

Interestingly, the kids who lied didn’t perform any better at remembering pictures. The researchers think that this is because lying relies more on tracking verbal information – like remembering exactly what you’ve said to keep your story straight – than on visual memory.

Dr Elena Hoicka, from the university of Sheffield told the BBC: ‘While parents are usually not too proud when their kids lie, they can at least be pleased to discover that when their children are lying well, it means their children are becoming better at thinking and have good memory skills.’ The research was carried out by the Universities of North Florida, Sheffield, and Stirling, and published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, reports.

However, according to, young children (ages 4-5) often make up stories and tell tall tales. This is normal activity because they enjoy hearing stories and making up stories for fun. These young children may blur the distinction between reality and fantasy.

An older child or adolescent may tell a lie to be self-serving (e.g. avoid doing something or deny responsibility for their actions). Parents should respond to isolated instances of lying by talking with the youngster about the importance of truthfulness, honesty and trust.