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Telling a Lie: Find Out Which Age Kids Do It Most (and Best!)

The Short of It

If I told you young kids lie the most—"I swear I already did my homework!"—I wouldn't be telling the truth. Little kids, big kids, kids at heart—you may be surprised to find out who is actually fibbing more (and doing a good job at it!).

The Lowdown

A new study published in the journal Acta Psychologica finds teenagers are most apt to be untruthful, and young adults ages 18 to 29 are the best at it. On the contrary, children between the ages of 6 and 8 are most likely to tell the truth, while adults over 60 are true honest Abes. (Both of those age groups, by the way, were reportedly bad liars, as well—maybe practice does make perfect!)

The study "investigated age-related difference in lying proficiency and lying frequency." Researchers looked at more than 1,000 people ranging in age from 6 to 77, and relied on self-reporting of the number of lies they told daily. The biggest liars, teens and young adults, told 2.8 untruths each day; on average participants lied twice daily.

Meanwhile, how quickly people were able to tell a fib measured their success at lying. Study coauthor Bruno Verschuere of the University of Amsterdam explains, "Typically, people are slower and make more errors when lying, and this was taken as an index of the difficulty of lying."

Researchers think the development of the part of the brain responsible for successfully telling a lie may explain why teens and young adults are masters at deception.

The Upshot

I'm not sure how much I believe the results of this study; what if the participants were just lying when they self-reported their behaviors? Furthermore, researchers should have also looked at preschoolers, who in my experience as a mom of three, are brilliant liars. Just ask them if they brushed their teeth, or cleaned their rooms. Oh yeah, they'd give those young adults a run for their money!

What's your take?

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