Liar, Liar

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Children are not easily fooled, despite what adults tell them, according to a new study.

Scientists recently conducted two experiments on children between the ages of four and seven to determine how the little ones responded to dubious claims by adults, Cosmos magazine reported.

In their first experiment, 109 children were shown three objects – a sponge, a rock and a hacky sack. When asked if the rock was hard, they responded that it was.

But researchers would then either confirm the claim or contradict it – for example, say that the rock is soft. The little ones were then asked again if the rock was hard or soft.

When their assertion was refuted, the majority of the kids agreed that the rock was soft.

But once the researchers left the child alone, most of the kids who had been “deceived” tested the rock’s hardness and were surprised at the lie.

In the second experiment, the team showed eight different vignettes to 156 children via video calls. They then asked the kids what another child should do when presented with an adult making a suspicious claim – such as “the sponge is harder than the rock.”

Older children were more likely to propose methods that were more closely related to the assertion they heard, such as “they should touch the sponge and the rock.”

The findings show that as kids grow older, they become more conscientious about verifying assertions when they have doubts about what adults tell them.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

Copy link