Parents aren’t that great at spotting when their child is lying, a new study has found.
A team at the University of California analysed the results of 45 experiments in deception in children up to 15.
Researchers discovered that, on average, adults were able to distinguish truth from lies just 54% of the time.
A popular reason for adults getting it wrong was down to their child “looking guilty”, even if they weren’t.
“Adults view behaviours such as gaze aversion, fidgeting, nervousness, incoherent responses and facial expressions as being indicative of someone lying,” the researchers they wrote in the journal Law and Human Behaviour, according to the Daily Mail.
The deception experiments they analysed used a strategy called “temptation resistance”.
A child was left alone in a room with an exciting toy placed behind them. They were told not to turn around and look at it.
They were left alone in the room. When the researchers returned, they asked whether the child looked at the toy.
Observers then left the room and watched the child. On returning, the child was asked if they had looked and adults guessed whether or not they were lying.
Adults only got it right 54% of the time. Apparently us parents aren’t as super human as we thought.
In a blog on The Huffington Post, Vanessa Van Edwards, who studies human lie-detection, said there are four main ways parents can tell their child is lying.
She cited verbal nuance, verbal clues, relief and fear as the ways you can detect deceit.
“The most important thing to remember about lie detection is that one clue alone does not guarantee lying,” she wrote.
“If you see some of the clues listed below, it is simply a red flag to get more information.”