The next time your kid paints the dog blue and insists the dog just came in from outside looking that way, go ahead and grieve a bit because your precious snowflake is no longer too innocent to lie. Then give them a high five because, it turns outs, they’re brain’s working on a higher level than all those honest kids they hang out with.
That’s the opinion of psychologists at the University Of Toronto, who just published research that suggests learning to lie is a sign of “cognitive sophistication.” According to lead researching Kang Lee, bending the truth requires mastering 2 skills. The first is a solid “theory of mind,” which means they can understand other people’s mental states quite well. The second is high executive function, which means they can think ahead and suppress the instinct to tell the truth that you’ve worked so hard to instill in them. For some context, mind theory training is a key tool therapists use to deal with behavioral issues in children who lack empathy, and executive function has been linked all sorts of successful academic and life outcomes.
Lee told The Wall Street Journal that being a good early liar means your kid will be more successful in class and when interacting with other kids. Of course, he neglects to address the fact that a little person who employs all that higher brain function in the service of misleading people also sounds a bit like a little sociopath but, hey, look on the bright side: they’re your adorable little sociopath.