University of California, San Diego study: Lying parents tend to raise lying children

20 Mar

Cheating is increasingly a concern in education. Some colleges in an attempt to curb academic dishonesty on campus are beginning to employ methods one has usually associated with Las Vegas casinos. Minnesota State University Mankato has an excellent newsletter article about academic dishonesty. Richard C. Schimming writes in Academic Dishonesty:

A recent survey found that 1/3 of all students admitted to cheating on an examination, 1/2 admitted to cheating on a class assignment, 2/3 admitted to cheating at least once during their college career, and 2/3 have seen classmates cheat on exams or assignments. Paradoxically, 3/4 of those in that survey believe that cheating is not justified under any circumstances. Finally, 1/2 of the students surveyed believe that the faculty of their university do not try to catch cheaters… http://www.mnsu.edu/cetl/teachingresources/articles/academicdishonesty.html

For some students, cheating starts early. By the time some kids reach college they have already established a pattern of cheating. ABC News has a good report, A Cheating Crisis in America’s Schools http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=132376&page=1 https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/cheating-in-schools-goes-high-tech/ Apparently, kids are modeling what they learned at home.

Science Daily reported in the article, Lied-to children more likely to cheat, lie:

People lie — we know this. People lie to kids — we know this, too. But what happens next? Do children who’ve been lied to lie more themselves?
Surprisingly, the question had not been asked experimentally until Chelsea Hays, then an undergraduate student in psychology at the University of California, San Diego, approached professor Leslie Carver with it. Now the pair have a paper out in Developmental Science, suggesting that adult dishonesty does make a difference, and not in a good way.
“As far as we know,” said Carver, associate professor of psychology and human development in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences. “This is the first experiment confirming what we might have suspected: Lying by an adult affects a child’s honesty.”
The study tested 186 children ages 3 to 7 in a temptation-resistance paradigm. Approximately half of the children were lied to by an experimenter, who said there was “a huge bowl of candy in the next room” but quickly confessed this was just a ruse to get the child to come play a game. The others were simply invited to play, with no mention of candy.
The game asked children to identify character toys they couldn’t see by their sounds. Sounds and toys were pretty easy to pair: a “Tickle me” audio clip for Elmo; “I love cookies” for Cookie Monster; and “There is a rumbly in my tummy” for Winnie the Pooh. One sound was a deliberately tricky exception: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” which is not associated with any commercially available character toy.
When the classical music cue was played, the experimenter was called out of the room to, supposedly, take a phone call — leaving the children alone in the room for 90 seconds and tempting them to take a peek at the mysterious toy making that sound. The children were explicitly asked not to peek. On returning, the experimenter also explicitly asked the children to tell the truth. Cameras rolled the whole time.
And? The 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds who had been lied to were both more likely to cheat and then more likely to lie about having done so, too.
About 60 percent of the school-aged children who had not been lied to by the experimenter peeked at the tricky temptation toy — and about 60 percent of the peekers lied about it later. Among those that had been lied to, those figures rose to nearly 80 percent peeking and nearly 90 percent of the peekers lying.
“Why?” remains an open research question, Carver and Hays note in their paper. It could be the 5- to 7-year-old children were simply imitating the behavior modeled by the adult, or it could be they were making judgments about the importance of honesty to this adult. Or, it could be more nuanced: “Perhaps,” they write, “the children did not feel the need to uphold their commitment to tell the truth to someone who they perceived as a liar.”
But it didn’t seem to make any difference to the younger set, the preschoolers, whether they had been deceived by the experimenter earlier. They peeked and lied at about the same rates. That may be because 3- and 4-year-olds don’t have very sophisticated theory-of-mind abilities yet.
The study was not designed to get at the reasons that children are more likely to lie when they have been lied to, but to demonstrate that the phenomenon can occur, Carver said…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319093802.htm

Citation:

Journal Reference:
1. Chelsea Hays, Leslie J. Carver. Follow the liar: the effects of adult lies on children’s honesty. Developmental Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/desc.12171
March 19, 2014
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
A new experiment is the first to show a connection between adult dishonesty and children’s behavior, with kids who have been lied to more likely to cheat and then to lie to cover up the transgression. Research has documented that the majority of parents admit to lying to their children even as they maintain that honesty is an important value. “The actions of parents suggest that they do not believe that the lies they tell their children will impact the child’s own honesty. The current study casts doubt on that belief,” the authors say. The study has implications not only for parenting but also for teaching scenarios and for forensic situations, said Carver: “All sorts of grown-ups may have to re-examine what they say to kids. Even a ‘little white lie’ might have consequences.”

Here is the press release from the University of California, San Diego:

Lied-to Children More Likely to Cheat and Lie
UC San Diego experiment first to show connection between adult dishonesty and children’s behavior
People lie – we know this. People lie to kids – we know this, too. But what happens next? Do children who’ve been lied to lie more themselves?
Surprisingly, the question had not been asked experimentally until Chelsea Hays, then an undergraduate student in psychology at the University of California, San Diego, approached professor Leslie Carver with it. Now the pair have a paper out in Developmental Science, suggesting that adult dishonesty does make a difference, and not in a good way.
“As far as we know,” said Carver, associate professor of psychology and human development in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences. “This is the first experiment confirming what we might have suspected: Lying by an adult affects a child’s honesty.”
The study tested 186 children ages 3 to 7 in a temptation-resistance paradigm. Approximately half of the children were lied to by an experimenter, who said there was “a huge bowl of candy in the next room” but quickly confessed this was just a ruse to get the child to come play a game. The others were simply invited to play, with no mention of candy.

Children were asked to identify well-known character toys they couldn’t see by their associated sounds.
The game asked children to identify character toys they couldn’t see by their sounds. Sounds and toys were pretty easy to pair: a “Tickle me” audio clip for Elmo; “I love cookies” for Cookie Monster; and “There is a rumbly in my tummy” for Winnie the Pooh. One sound was a deliberately tricky exception: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” which is not associated with any commercially available character toy.
When the classical music cue was played, the experimenter was called out of the room to, supposedly, take a phone call – leaving the children alone in the room for 90 seconds and tempting them to take a peek at the mysterious toy making that sound. The children were explicitly asked not to peek. On returning, the experimenter also explicitly asked the children to tell the truth. Cameras rolled the whole time.
And? The 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds who had been lied to were both more likely to cheat and then more likely to lie about having done so, too.
About 60 percent of the school-aged children who had not been lied to by the experimenter peeked at the tricky temptation toy – and about 60 percent of the peekers lied about it later. Among those that had been lied to, those figures rose to nearly 80 percent peeking and nearly 90 percent of the peekers lying.
“Why?” remains an open research question, Carver and Hays note in their paper. It could be the 5- to 7-year-old children were simply imitating the behavior modeled by the adult, or it could be they were making judgments about the importance of honesty to this adult. Or, it could be more nuanced: “Perhaps,” they write, “the children did not feel the need to uphold their commitment to tell the truth to someone who they perceived as a liar.”

School-aged children, ages 5 to 7, who had been lied to were both more likely to peek and then to lie about having done so. Click on image for larger view.
But it didn’t seem to make any difference to the younger set, the preschoolers, whether they had been deceived by the experimenter earlier. They peeked and lied at about the same rates. That may be because 3- and 4-year-olds don’t have very sophisticated theory-of-mind abilities yet.
The study was not designed to get at the reasons that children are more likely to lie when they have been lied to, but to demonstrate that the phenomenon can occur, Carver said.
What happens when trusted care-givers do the lying also remains an open research question. But Carver and Hays are still urging restraint. Even if it’s expedient for an adult to lie – to get cooperation through deception, for example, or to get children to control their emotions – it’s probably a bad idea in the long run.
Earlier research, Carver and Hays note in the paper, has documented that the majority of parents admit to lying to their children even as they maintain that honesty is an important value.
“The actions of parents,” Carver and Hays write, “suggest that they do not believe that the lies they tell their children will impact the child’s own honesty. The current study casts doubt on that belief.”
The study has implications not only for parenting but also for teaching scenarios and for forensic situations, said Carver: “All sorts of grown-ups may have to re-examine what they say to kids. Even a ‘little white lie’ might have consequences.”
Related Links
Leslie Carver, UC San Diego Psychology and Human Development
Developmental Science
UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences

Indiana University has a concise definition of character education in Creating a Positive Climate: Character Education:

Character education simply does that in a more systematic way. Character education includes two primary components: 1) Education in civic virtue and in the qualities that teach children the forms and rules of citizenship in a just society, and 2) Education in personal adjustment, chiefly in the qualities that enable children to become productive and dependable citizens.4
Character education may include a variety of subcomponents that can be a part of a larger character education program or that can be self-standing.
These can include social skills instruction and curricula, moral development instruction and curricula, values clarification instruction and curricula, caring education and curricula,5 and school values statements. Other programs such as cooperative learning strategies, participatory decision-making for students, and service learning are sometimes also classified as components of character education. Character education itself is often viewed as simply one component of some larger school reform and improvement strategies. For example, the “Basic School” has four components, one of which is a “Commitment to Character.”6According to Likona,7 the moral or character education of elementary students is designed to accomplish three goals:
• To promote development away from self-centered thinking and excessive individualism and toward cooperative relationships and mutual respect;
• To foster the growth of the capacity to think, feel, and act morally; and
• To develop in the classroom and in the school a moral community based on fairness, caring, and participation – such a community being a moral end in itself as well as a support system for the character development of each individual student. http://www.indiana.edu/~safeschl/charactereducation.pdf

See, Character Education Partnership http://www.character.org/key-topics/what-is-character-education/

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
Thomas Jefferson

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: