Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh

June 11, 2012

Lying: Turn off your kid’s brain | June 11, 2012

To lie or not to lie

Okay, I’ll set the stage. Harvard researchers used an MRI to assess people’s brain wave functioning comparing those who lied vs. those who did not lie when asked a particular question.

What’d they find?

Those who lied tended to have significantly elevated brain wave activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the brain, which suggests that the “liars” were involved in quite a bit of mental wrangling before making the decision to lie. However, a portion of the ‘truth-tellers’ had minimal PFC brain wave activity.

So what?

It would appear that those who lied put ample thought into how to handle the situation, and ultimately chose to lie. In contrast, those who told the truth often did not think much about it; they simply told the truth. It was not hard for them to make the decision; they apparently acted on moral principle. For them, there wasn't much to think about.

How do we get our kid’s brain to turn off?

Wouldn't it be nice if our kiddos don't think much about doing right or wrong but, instead, they simply, easily, quickly, and handily choose to do what’s right even if it’s not entirely convenient at the time? How do we instill this sense of moral strength and conviction in our children? Here are some ideas:

1. Model honesty daily for your children. If they frequently see you telling ‘little white lies’ then you can bet those PFC neurons will be firing big-time when they’re tempted to lie. Remember the old saying, ‘what you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say’.

2. Speak to your child about the complications of lying. More importantly, make sure they do not get away with lying and face natural consequences.

3. Get your child church or synagogue-involved, or wherever you may attend. Children have a natural faith in God; fostering their faith will strengthen convictions, inner strength, and a desire to ‘what’s right.’ Suppose that’s true for us adults as well.

The coma-club

During times of temptation, I want my PFC to be coma-like. In fact, I want that too for my kids (my wife is perfect already); which translates into having the moral conviction to simply, easily, quickly, and handily choose to do what’s right, even if it’s not entirely convenient at the time. How about you? Let’s start today.

Feel free to question or comment at jecarosso@cpcwecare.com. God bless.

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