It’s not as if this was a novelty, but now there’s the scientific background to prove it. Actually, this refers more to when children deny something has happened rather than just making things up. Adults to a little better at this one. This research has been made mostly to help in forensic searches, when dealing with cases of child sexual abuse evaluations.

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“The large number of children coming into contact with the legal system – mostly as a result of abuse cases – has motivated intense scientific effort to understand children’s true and false reports,” said study author and UC Davis psychology professor Gail S. Goodman. “The seriousness of abuse charges and the frequency with which children’s testimony provides central prosecutorial evidence makes children’s eyewitness memory abilities important considerations. Arguably even more important, however, are adults’ abilities to evaluate children’s reports.”

In order to get these results, they asked more than 100 adults to view some tapes of 3- and 5-year-olds, which were talking about true or untrue events. They were put in various situations, and adults had to figure out which ones were telling the truth and which ones were lying.

“The findings suggest that adults are better at detecting false reports than they are at detecting false denials,” Goodman said. “While accurately detecting false reports protects innocent people from false allegations, the failure to detect false denials could mean that adults fail to protect children who falsely deny actual victimization.”