Babies remember when you lie to them

Children as young as 13 months of age learn not to trust adults who lie, new study shows


Babies are quick to learn how trustworthy an adult is and won’t follow their lead if they prove to be liars, a study in the journal of Infant Behavior and Development reveals.


Infants keep an eye on adults’ behaviour and decide whether they should trust them or not in the future. Senior researcher Diane Poulin-Dubois, a professor of Psychology, notes that babies “use this information to guide their subsequent learning”. 

Sixty babies aged between 13 and 16 months were shown a toy box and encouraged by an adult to believe there were toys inside. Then the adults had to turn a light on with their forehead and only 34% of babies went on to copy the lying adults’ lead, while 61% imitated those who had told the truth, associating them with rational and logical behaviour.

So, be warned, you might get away with that little white lie once, but your baby could soon learn!  


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