This paper is based in part on a doctoral dissertation completed by the first author. We thank Jonas Langer and Geoffrey Saxe for their helpful advice.
To Lie or Not to Lie: To Whom and Under What Circumstances
Version of Record online: 23 MAR 2007
Volume 78, Issue 2, pages 609–621, March/April 2007
How to Cite
Perkins, S. A. and Turiel, E. (2007), To Lie or Not to Lie: To Whom and Under What Circumstances. Child Development, 78: 609–621. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01017.x
- Issue online: 23 MAR 2007
- Version of Record online: 23 MAR 2007
This research examined adolescents' judgments about lying to circumvent directives from parents or friends in the moral, personal, and prudential domains. One hundred and twenty-eight adolescents (12.1–17.3 years) were presented with situations in which an adolescent avoids a directive through deception. The majority of adolescents judged some acts as acceptable, including deception regarding parental directives to engage in moral violations and to restrict personal activities. Other acts of deception were judged as unacceptable, including deception of parents regarding prudential acts, as well as deception of friends in each domain. In addition, lying to conceal a misdeed was negatively evaluated. Most adolescents thought that directives from parents and friends to engage in moral violations or to restrict personal acts were not legitimate, whereas parental directives concerning prudential acts were seen as legitimate. Results indicate that adolescents value honesty, but sometimes subordinate it to moral and personal concerns in relationships of inequality.