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Article
61 Williams Ahern Lyon false statements merrill palmer in press.pdf
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly (In Press) (2016)
  • Thomas D. Lyon
Abstract
This study examined relations between children’s false statements and response latency, executive functioning, and truth-lie understanding in order to understand what underlies children’s emerging ability to make false statements. A total of 158 (2- to 5-year-old) children earned prizes for claiming that they were looking at birds even when presented with images of fish. Children were asked recall (“what do you have?”), recognition (“do you have a bird/fish?”), and outcome (“did you win/lose?”) questions. Response latencies were greater when children were presented with fish pictures than bird pictures, particularly when they were asked recall questions, and were greater for false statements than for true statements, again when children were asked recall questions. Older but not younger children exhibited longer latencies when making false responses to outcome questions, suggesting that younger children were providing impulsive desire-based responses to the outcome questions. Executive functioning, as measured by the day-night Stroop task, was not related to false statements. Children who were better at labeling statements on a truth-lie identification task were more proficient at making false statements. The results support the proposition that the cognitive effort required for making false statements is dependent upon the types of questions asked. 
Keywords
  • child abuse,
  • child neglect,
  • child sexual abuse,
  • child witness,
  • child testimony
Publication Date
November 13, 2016
Citation Information
Williams, S. Ahern, E.C., & Lyon, T.D. (in press). The relation between children’s false statements and response latency, executive functioning, and truth-lie understanding. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly.