Thursday, July 05, 2007

Lie Like A Baby

Recently eaten: burgers, amish potato salad, baked beans, sweet potato fries
Recent annoyance: that nagging, yet mysteriously recurring ankle injury

Everyone scoffed when I said babies couldn't be trusted.

Don't be fooled by the swaddling clothes, babies are liars
Babies learn to lie when they're six months old, earlier than previously believed -- and these tender deceptions are practice for later, more complicated duplicity.

That's the conclusion of University of Portsmouth psychologists who, based on parent interviews and studies of 50 children, say they've identified an unexpectedly rich culture of infant fibbing.

Said the Globe and Mail:

Long before children can understand complex ideas about truth and deception, Dr. Reddy writes in the April issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, "they are engaging in subtle manipulations of their own and others' actions, which succeed in deceiving others at least temporarily."

The Telegraph added,

Infants quickly learnt that using tactics such as fake crying and pretend laughing could win them attention. By eight months, more difficult deceptions became apparent, such as concealing forbidden activities or trying to distract parents' attention.

The researchers say that fake crying, used to get attention though nothing is wrong, is a first step on the slippery slope to deception. The dishonesty, said lead investigator Vasudevi Reddy, can be detected when babies pause to see if they've been heard -- showing that they're "clearly able to distinguish that what they are doing will have an effect."

"This is essentially what all adults do when they tell lies," said Reddy.

Ah, innocence lost....

Babies not as innocent as they pretend [Telegraph]

Sneaky babies learn to lie before they learn to talk [Globe and Mail]

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