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Study Shows Kids With Good Memories Are Better Liars

If your child is a whiz at memorizing flash cards, researchers say that you may have a brilliant liar on your hands. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, children with good verbal memories are better at telling lies.

An investigation by researchers at the University of Sheffield into the role of working memory in verbal deception in children followed 6- and 7-year-olds as they were told to not look at the answers on a card during a trivia game.

Using a hidden camera and analyzing the details of each of the children's responses, researchers learned that there is a link between verbal working memory and covering up lies. Verbal working memory refers to the number of words someone can remember at the same time.

The questions children were asked referred to the color of the answer on the cards, and each response to entrapment questions determined whether the child was a good liar or a bad liar. Kids who lied about both entrapment questions were considered "good liars," while lying about none or one of the questions classified children as "bad liars," according to the study.

Analysts deduced that covering up lies involves keeping track of lots of verbal information. Children who could keep track of lots of information were able to create a better story for their lie.

"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," said Dr. Elena Hoicka, of the University of Sheffield's Department of Psychology.

Image via Twenty20/ryan.smedstad

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