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Academic Report:Is False Belief Understanding Necessary to Tell a Lie? Evidence from Two kinds of Lie-telling Behaviors in Hong Kong Children
Update time: 2014/11/03
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Speaker: WANG Lamei

(Assistant Professor from Professor ZHU Liqi’s research team)

Time:13:30-14:30 (Tue), November 4, 2014

Venue: Meeting Room Level 5,  South Building

Host: LI Su (Associate Professor)

To answer the research question whether false belief understanding is necessary to tell a lie, young children’s white lie-telling and black lie-telling behaviors were investigated concurrently along with their false belief understanding. Hong Kong 2-6 years old kindergarten children participated in white lie and black lie tasks in quasi-naturalistic settings. The undesirable gift paradigm, in which children received an undesirable gift and were questioned by the gift-giver about whether they liked the gift, was used to examine children’s white lie-telling behavior. The temptation resistance paradigm, in which children were tempted to peek under a cup and evidence of their transgression would be left behind, was employed to examine children’s black lie-telling behavior. The results indicate that false belief understanding is not necessary in either white lie or black lie telling, and children’s lie-telling behaviors rather base on their self-interest. White lies emerged later and were much less inclined to be told than black lies in Hong Kong kindergarten children. These results offered a first glimpse of the interrelation between children’s white lie, black lie-telling and false belief understanding. Children’s lie-telling behaviors in specific social and cultural context should be discussed in further studies.

Key words:white lie, black lie, deception, false belief, kindergarten children 


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