Carving Pinocchio: Longitudinal examination of children's lying for different goals

Victoria Talwar*, Jennifer Lavoie, Angela M. Crossman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined children's lie-telling behavior across four motivational contexts at two time points: Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2). There were 127 children (M T1 = 4.65 years old, SD = 0.66; M T2 = 6.93 years old, SD = 0.80) who participated twice in four experimental paradigms to examine antisocial and prosocial lie-telling behavior approximately 2 years apart. Children also completed cognitive measures, and parents completed questionnaires on parenting styles and their children's behavior. Results revealed that children's lie-telling was not uniform across motivational contexts within one time point but that children were fairly consistent in telling antisocial and prosocial lies over time. These findings advance our understanding of the development of lying and how children's decisions to lie may change over time and across motivational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-55
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Early online date19 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • antisocial lies
  • deception
  • developmental trajectories
  • lie-telling
  • motivational contexts
  • prosocial lies


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