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Children Cheat When Parents Lie

Update Date: Jun 24, 2014 08:54 PM EDT

Liars are more likely to raise liars, according to a new study. Researchers found that parents can directly influence how honest their children.

The latest findings revealed that children are more likely to cheat and lie the more they themselves are lied to.

Researchers said that findings suggest that children are more likely to lie if they find out that their parents have not been telling the truth.

The latest study involved 186 children between the ages of three and seven. Around half of the children were lied to by researchers, and the other half were not told anything at all.

Researchers found that children between the ages of five and seven who had been lied to were significantly more likely to cheat and lie about having done so.

"As far as we know, this is the first experiment confirming what we might have suspected - lying by an adult affects a child's honesty," Leslie Carver, associate professor of psychology and human development in the University of California's San Diego Division of Social Sciences, said in a news release.

"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," Carver said.

"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. Even a little white lie might have consequences," she concluded.

The latest study was published in the journal Developmental Science.

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