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According to child psychology researchers, children who have a good memory are better at telling lies.

The researchers tested 6 and 7-year-olds who were given an opportunity to cheat in a trivia game and then lie about their actions.

Children who were good liars performed better in tests of verbal memory – the number of words they could remember.

This means they are good at juggling lots of information, even if they do tell the odd fib.

Writing in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, researchers from the Universities of North Florida, Sheffield and Stirling, recruited 114 children from four British schools for their experiment.

Photo Tumblr

Photo Tumblr

Using hidden cameras during a question-and-answer game, they were able to identify the children who peeked at the answer to a fictitious question, even though they were told not to.

A potentially surprising finding (for parents) is that only a quarter of the children cheated by looking at the answer.

Further questioning allowed the researchers to work out who was a good liar or a bad liar.

They were particularly interested in children’s ability to maintain a good cover story for their lie.

In separate memory tests, the good liars showed they had a better working memory for words – but they didn’t show any evidence of being better at remembering pictures (visuo-spatial memory).

The researchers said this was because lying involves keeping track of lots of verbal information, whereas keeping track of images is less important.

Dr. Elena Hoicka, a developmental psychologist from the University of Sheffield, said there was an upside to having a child who fibs.

“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.

“We already know that adults lie in approximately a fifth of their social exchanges lasting 10 or more minutes, so it’s interesting to know why some children are able to tell more porkies than others.”

Dr. Elena Hoicka said they now wanted to find out more about how children first learn to lie.


Marc Salem, a body-language expert has released a list of the four most common ways to tell if someone is lying, with some slightly obvious answers.

In addition to a steady gaze or displays of inconsistent behavior, the other two give-away’s are shown through your smile- or lack thereof.

Marc Salem, the Men’s Health non-verbal behavior expert, says that by covering your mouth while talking or coughing an inordinate amount for a healthy person both may be ways to cover more than just your smile.

If someone tries to hide his mouth, it may be an inadvertent telling that he is hiding the truth.

On the other end of the spectrum, if someone smiles too quickly or does so under unusual circumstances, they may be trying to cover up bad behavior.

Marc Salem said in his article: “A genuine smile changes a person’s whole face.”

“Their eyes light up, and their cheeks and eyebrows rise along with the corners of their mouth.”

“A fake smile appears in an instant, and disappears just as quickly.”

A common theme throughout is that any changes in someone’s typical behavior should serve as a warning sign that something is up.

“Shifts from the norm are red flags for deceit,” Marc Salem said.