Executive function and temperamental fear concurrently predict deception in school-aged children

Sarah Babkirk, Lauren V. Saunders, Beylul Solomon, Ellen M. Kessel, Angela Crossman, Nurper Gokhan, Tracy A. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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 (EF) 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. EF, as measured by a working memory (WM) task, and temperamental fear, as measured via maternal report were assessed in relation to observed deceptive behavior among six- to nine-year-old children (N = 43). Results showed that children displaying high WM 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-439
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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