Katherine Warnell, Jennifer Clegg discuss how children learn to lie with Big Ideas TXST

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | June 8, 2021

young children whispering to each other

Jennifer Clegg and Katherine Warnell, assistant professors in the Department of Psychology at Texas State University, join the Big Ideas TXST podcast to discuss to discuss their ongoing research into how children learn to lie in June's new episode.

Lying is a complex behavior that requires sophisticated social cognition. The liar—in this case, children—have to think about how others are perceiving them, what they know, and whether the lie is successful or not. In their studies, Warnell and Clegg examine how children between 4- and 10 years old learn about different types of lies: Anti-social lying, as when a child tries to deny guilt after doing something wrong, and prosocial lying, or polite lies, which are often used to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Anti-social lies appear early in development, whereas prosocial lies are more difficult for younger children to grasp. On top of that, there are differences in lying across cultures, which adds further complexities to the research.  

Big Ideas TXST is a monthly podcast from Texas State’s Division of University Advancement that goes inside the fascinating minds forging innovation, research and creativity at the university. Hosted by Daniel Seed, a lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, each episode features thoughtful interviews and discussion with the thought leaders developing innovative ideas to make the world a better place.

Big Ideas TXST can be found at news.txstate.edu/inside-txst/big-ideas-podcast. The podcast may also be listened to or subscribed to at:


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Katherine Warnell
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Jennifer Clegg

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922