Parents Lie More When with Sons than Daughters, Study Finds

May 8, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. dishonest /dɪsˈɒn ɪst / (adj.) – referring to someone who is telling a lie
Example: My dad scolded me for being dishonest.

2. toss / tɔs, tɒs / (v.) – to throw in order to turn something over
Example: I tossed the coin.

3. surprisingly / sərˈpraɪzɪŋli / (adv.) – unexpectedly, in a shocking manner
Example: The results were surprisingly accurate.

4. norm / nɔrm / (n.) – a standard that identifies which behavior is acceptable
Example: Not burping in public is a social norm.

5. dictate / ˈdɪk teɪt, dɪkˈteɪt / (v.) – to order or demand
Example: The school rules dictate that students must wear their IDs at all times.


Read the text below.
Parents tend to become more dishonest in front of their sons than their daughters, a recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed.

A team of researchers from the George Mason University studied over 150 parents with children between ages three and five. In a room, they asked the parents to toss two coins, both with blue and green sides. Each parent brought their kids inside the room and reported the result. If the parent got the green side from both coins, they would receive a prize, which was either money for themselves or toys for their children.

The researchers compared the average winning rates with the objective probability of winning, which was at 25%. Because the average winning rate was higher than 25%, the researchers suggested that some parents cheated. Parents were more likely to lie about the result when their child was out of the room, when the prize was for their child, and surprisingly, when they were with their sons.

Anya Samek, a co-author of the study, believes that social norms may be the reason why parents lie more in front of their sons. Social norms dictate that girls must grow up honest, while lying may be more acceptable for boys.

Exposure to this behavior may be one of the reasons why men lie more than women. According to a study in 2014, the average man lies about four times a week. It also revealed that men tend to lie if doing so will save them money or help them win an argument.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can you say about the results of the study?
·         If this study was done in your country, do you think the results would be the same? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How can we teach children to be more honest?
·         Is lying always a bad thing to do? Why or why not?

May 8, 2015