Cheating behavior in children: Integrating gaze allocation and social awareness

Avshalom Galil, Jessica Yarmolovsky, Maor Gidron, Ronny Geva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Children's cheating and factors supporting honesty are not well understood. The current work explored variables involved in children's cheating through eye-tracking and an implicit manipulation in which extrinsic awareness of the effects of one's behaviors on others was primed. Participants played a computer game with the option for a monetary gain in which they could earn more if they selectively erred in response to more profitable stimuli. Results show that children cheat by making selective effort toward more profitable errors; however, extrinsic awareness inhibits these cheating behaviors. Importantly, gaze toward children's earnings mediates this relationship, suggesting that extrinsic awareness mitigates an impulsive looking pattern, which in turn results in less cheating. Findings suggest that an implicit manipulation, highlighting the potential implications of one's actions for others, seems to effectively suppress cheating among children. Furthermore, attention toward earnings offers a cognitive process that acts to mediate the effect of this manipulation on cheating. Taken together, this framework suggests psychoneurocognitive and social processes that influence cheating in children, offering a direction for future implicit intervention techniques to support honest performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-416
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful for the cooperation of the participants and their families. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Developmental Neuropsychology team members as well as Dr. Elisheva Ben-Artzi for her statistical input. This work was supported by the Infrastructure Development Grant of the National Office of Science, Technology and Space, 3-10842 as well as the Israel Science Foundation, 1510/16 awarded to Prof. Ronny Geva.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Attention
  • Cheating
  • Decision making
  • Gaze behavior
  • Social awareness


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