Book of the Week on UK BBC Radio 4 this morning was about the book -
Born Liars, Why we can't live without deceit. By Ian Leslie.
The story today was about how young kids, at about 4 years of age learn to lie, and how this was seen to be an important skill and an effective way of controlling other people. At this age they acquire a theory of other minds.
Normally, lying is moderated by social feedback in later life.
What struck me was an anecdote (concerning research in 2009 by Victoria Talwar of McGill University) about two neighbouring schools in West Africa, the first liberal and the second ultra-strict (the regime was designed by Catholic missionaries) both trying to teach good morals. The study showed that the pupils at the second were extremely proficient and habitual liars because they had learned to avoid disproportionate and painful punishments for minor offences.
Just shows what a strict (religious) upbringing can do for you.