For whom is it worth lying? Prosocial lies in school children
Keywords:lies, school children, culture
A prosocial lie is a false statement intended to help and not to harm someone. The present study investigated possible effects of age and culture in 97 Brazilian children’s responses (7 to 11 years of age) in a prosocial lying task, designed for a previous study with Canadian and Chinese children. The task consisted in presenting four dilemmas followed by questions about what children should do: tell the truth or lie to protect the self, a friend or a group? No effect of age was found for the lying scores, but the lying-forfriend scores were significantly higher than the lying-for-self and lying-for-collective scores. This pattern of results suggests that, in contrast to Chinese and Canadian children, Brazilian children find it more worthwhile to tell a lie that protects a friend than a lie that protects self-interests or those of a group.
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