Contextual and age-related determinants of children’s lie telling to conceal a transgression

Talia Carl*, Kay Bussey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Children frequently tell lies to conceal their transgressions. Evidence to date, using the temptation resistance paradigm (TRP), indicates that antisocial lie telling to conceal a transgression increases into middle childhood (4-8 years), but decreases during early adolescence (8-14 years). However, these age-related conclusions have emerged from different studies that have involved different age groups, using one of two different TRP tasks. Before accepting this age-related trend, this study aimed to remove the confound of age and task-type by using the two most frequently used TRP tasks (guessing game, school-achievement task) across a broad age range (4- to 14-year-olds) of 443 students in one laboratory study. Results revealed the same age-related decrease in lie telling after 8 years reported in previous research; indicating that the age-related decrement in lie telling cannot be attributed to task-type. However, across all ages, there was an overall difference in the amount of lie telling with respect to the TRP task. Implications for understanding the independent role of age and task-type in children’s lie telling and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2129
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number3
Early online date19 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • antisocial lying
  • context
  • development of lying
  • lie telling
  • situation specificity
  • temptation resistance paradigm


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