Current Research Projects
Lying as a Conduct Problem
Lying is a typical part of childhood. However, for some children, lying becomes problematic and atypical with age. Frequent and persistent antisocial lying is an early indicator of conduct disorder, but our knowledge of why these children tell frequent antisocial lies is very limited. Our research examines this important research question, as well as examines prosocial lying in this population.
Facial Expressions While Lying
To tell a successful lie, one must control their verbal and nonverbal behaviours in such a manner that they don't give away the fact that they are lying. But what are the nonverbal markers of childhood deception? Our research examines this important question using state-of-the-art computer vision technology to automatically code facial expressions.
Parenting By Lying
"You better come with me now, or I will leave you in the store alone!" Parenting by lying is the act of using instrumental lying to manipulate children's emotional states or behaviours. It is a highly common practise around the world, but the implications of this behaviour are largely unknown. Our research examines both the long- and short-term implications of parenting by lying on social and emotional development.
Telling lies is largely considered to be an unwanted and negative behaviour. From a young age, children are taught the value of honesty and that telling lies is wrong. However, children also learn that telling a prosocial or "white" lie is sometimes necessary to foster amicable social relations and telling the truth is not always socially appropriate. For example, after receiving an undesirable gift, children are often taught to pretend that they like the gift instead of bluntly telling the gift-giver they don't like it. My research examines the development of prosocial lying among school-aged children.