London, June 20 (IANS) Children with strong memories are good at covering up lies and are better liars, new research says.
“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 one of the researchers Elena Hoicka from the University of Sheffield in Britain.
The study saw six to seven-year-old children presented with the opportunity to do something they were instructed not to — peek at the final answers on the back of a card during a trivia game.
A hidden camera and correct answers to the question, which was based on the name of a fictitious cartoon character, enabled the researchers to identify who had peeked, despite denials.
During the experiment, researchers then measured two elements: verbal and visuo-spatial working memory in the children.
Verbal working memory is the number of words a person can remember all at the same time. Visuo-spatial working memory is the number of images a person can remember all at the same time.
Results showed that the good liars performed better in the verbal working memory test in both processing and recall, compared to the bad liars.
The link between lying and verbal memory is thought to stem from the fact that covering lies involves keeping track of lots of verbal information.
In contrast, there was no difference in visuo-spatial working scores between good and bad liars.
The researchers suspect this is because lying usually does not involve keeping track of images, so visuo-spatial information is less important.
The results appeared in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.