Breaking the mold: A fresh look at children's understanding of questions about lies and mistakes

  • Siegal M
  • Peterson C
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In this investigation, we reexamine the claim that young children regard all false statements as lies. Children aged 3 to 5 years were shown 2 teddy bears. One bear had seen that bread which appeared edible was in reality moldy; the other had not seen the moldy contaminant. Both bears told an uninformed friend that the bread was okay to eat. When asked to identify a bear as lying or mistaken, rather than as lying or not lying, many children of all ages responded correctly. We suggest that, when care is taken to clarify the form of question, a rudimentary understanding of lies and mistakes is evident in domains such as food and contamination that provide constraints for learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Michael Siegal

  • Candida C. Peterson

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