Lies to benefit the collective are common in adult contexts; however, less is known about children’s willingness to lie for the collective. The present study examined 7- to 11-year-old children’s tendency to lie to conceal a group transgression. Children (N = 408) participated in a competition in small groups during which the group leaders encouraged children to cheat by falsely inflating their group’s score. Groups were randomly assigned to Active or Passive Transgression conditions, where children in the Active condition were more involved in cheating compared to those in the Passive condition. Children were interviewed about the event individually, and 83% lied to conceal their group’s transgression. Children who truthfully disclosed cheating were most likely to place blame on others rather than take the blame themselves. Results indicate that children are highly motivated to lie for their group.
Evans, Angela D.; Dykstra, Victoria W.; Bruer, Kaila; and Price, Heather L.
"Lying to Conceal a Group Transgression in Middle to Late Childhood,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 67:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol67/iss1/4