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J Moral Educ. 2015;44(4):425-439. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Executive Function and Temperamental Fear Concurrently Predict Deception in School-Aged Children.

Author information

1
Graduate Center, The City University of New York; Hunter College, The City University of New York.
2
Hunter College, The City University of New York.
3
College of the Marshall Islands.
4
Stony Brook University.
5
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York.
6
LaGuardia Community College, The City University of New York.
7
Hunter College, The City University of New York; Graduate Center, The City University of New York.

Abstract

The decision to intentionally withhold truthful information, or deception, is a key component of moral development and may be a precursor to more serious anti-social tendencies. Two factors, executive function and temperamental fear are each thought to influence childhood deception. Few studies, however, have explored deception in relation to both of these factors simultaneously. This was the goal of the present study. Executive function, as measured by a working memory task, and temperamental fear, as measured via maternal report were assessed in relation to observed deceptive behavior among 6 - 9-year-old children (N = 43). Results showed that children displaying high working memory capacity and high temperamental fear were more likely to exhibit deceptive behavior. Implications for predictors of childhood deception and applications for moral education are discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Children; Deception; Executive Function; Temperament; Working Memory

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