Little is known about the development of childrens lying. The present study examined whether observed social and non-social fear in preschoolers predicts childrens consistent cheating (N = 460; M = 4.3 years of age) and consistent lying about cheating. When left alone, 155 (34%) children cheated in both games conducted. Of these consistently cheating children, 54 (35%) children lied about their cheating after both games, whereas the remaining 101 children confessed to cheating after at least one game. Childrens temperamental fear did not predict consistent cheating. However, non-social (but not social) fear did predict consistent lying. Children with lower levels of non-social fear were more likely to lie. These findings suggest that non-social fear plays a role in the development of childrens antisocial lying.

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International Journal of Behavioral Development
Generation R Study Group

Zwirs, B., Székely, E., Herba, C., Verhulst, F., Jaddoe, V., Hofman, A., … Tiemeier, H. (2015). Social and non-social fear in preschoolers and prospective associations with lying about cheating. International Journal of Behavioral Development (Vol. 39, pp. 477–484). doi:10.1177/0165025414553136