- From junior to senior Pinocchio: A cross-sectional lifespan investigation of deception
- Acta Psychologica
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
We present the first study to map deception across the entire lifespan. Specifically, we investigated age-related difference in lying proficiency and lying frequency. A large community sample (n = 1005) aged between 6 and 77 were surveyed on their lying frequency, and performed a reaction-time (RT) based deception task to assess their lying proficiency. Consistent with the inverted U-shaped pattern of age-related changes in inhibitory control that we observed in a stop signal task, we found that lying proficiency improved during childhood (in accuracy, not RTs), excelled in young adulthood (in accuracy and RTs), and worsened throughout adulthood (in accuracy and RTs). Likewise, lying frequency increased in childhood, peaked in adolescence, and decreased during adulthood. In sum, we observed important age-related difference in deception that generally fit with the U-shaped pattern of age-related changes observed in inhibitory control. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed from a cognitive view of deception.
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