Humans are born liars: Book

Last Updated: May 08, 2011, 12:55 PM IST

London: If your child lies at three, be delighted, if they lie at seven, be very afraid but please don`t fret about telling fibs - it`s what that makes us human, says a new book.

According to the book, `Born Liars`, penned by Ian Leslie, people are "all born liars". Between the ages of two and four, children`s lies are usually told to avoid punishment. Very young children tend not to be good at lying. Then, at around the age of four something
changes, it says.

The book claims that somewhere between the ages of three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half, children learn how to lie with much greater skill and enthusiasm.

According to the book, lying is hard and children who lie well must be able to recognise the truth, conceive of an alternative, false but coherent story and juggle those two versions in their mind, while selling the alternative reality to someone else -- all the time bearing in mind what the other person is likely to be thinking and feeling.

It is wondrous that a child of four should be able to do this -- if you catch your three-year-old in a well-told lie, be impressed -- but don`t congratulate them, it says.

However, the number of lies told by children tends to spike among those aged four as they exercise their amazing new powers, but it usually declines during their first school years, as the child receives social feedback.

PTI