Teenagers are the most likely to lie successfully, according to new research.
Scientists at the University of Amsterdam tested more than 1,000 people, aged 6 to 77, as they visited the city’s Science Centre NEMO.
The survey, published in Acta Psychologica, asked participants to answer a simple general knowledge question, prompting them to either lie or tell the truth. It also asked individuals how frequently, and to whom, they had lied to in the past 24 hours.
Overall, the researchers found that teenagers were able to lie quickly and correctly when prompted in the first test. Children aged six to eight years old and elderly participants (aged over 60) were the worst at lying.
In the second test, teenagers again came top with young adults admitting to telling an average of 2.8 lies in the last 24 hours, above a previously established average of two lies.
Researchers found that their results appeared to correlate to a bell-curve, whereby the youngest and oldest tested were the worst at lying, while proficiency and frequency increased rapidly and peaked during adolescence before gradually declining.
Researchers observed there were “important age-related difference in deception” suggesting that differences may be due to varying levels of “inhibitory control.” Teenagers and young adults generally have lower inhibitory control – meaning they are able to successfully supress the truth.
However, caution has to be placed on the results. Surveys and polls examining lying are notoriously difficult as previous attempts at study have demonstrated.Reuse content