The Lying GameFriday, October 28th, 2011
A recent study of three- and four-year-old West African children conducted, in part, by McGill professor Victoria Talwar, suggests that harsh punishment in school can lead kids to lie in order to conceal their misbehaviour. Not only that, but they appear to get very good at it, compared to children who are schooled in a non-punitive environment…and even those who are twice their age!
Two groups of kids from the same neighbourhood, but from different schools, took part in a guessing game where the true test came when they were asked not to peek at a toy when the supervising adult left the room. Naturally, almost all of them did peek (wouldn’t you?) while awaiting the return of the adult. When asked whether they had looked at the toy, virtually every one of the kids from the school that employed harsh physical punishment lied (in many cases repeatedly and as convincingly as kids over the age of six) while just over half of those from the non-punitive school lied at all.
Unfortunately, the study did not examine the long-term effects of harsh physical punishment on blog writers, but we at Headway are nearly ready to publish our own results, after extensive “clinical testing.”