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According to research presented in 2003 by Stephens and later published in the “The Psychology of Academic Cheating” (Elsevier, 2006), high school students cheat more when they see the teacher as less fair and caring and when their motivation in the course is more focused on grades and less on learning and understanding.
There’s also evidence that focusing on honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility and promoting practices such as effective honor codes can make a significant difference in student behaviors, attitudes and beliefs, according to a 1999 study by the Center for Academic Integrity.
Honor codes seem to be particularly salient when they engage students, however.
In a 2007 survey of 154 college students, Southern Illinois University researchers found that students who plagiarized in college reported that they viewed themselves as more likely to break rules in the workplace, cheat on spouses and engage in illegal activities (, Vol. High school cheaters are also twice as likely to lie to or deceive their boss and one-and-a-half times more likely to lie to a significant other or cheat on their taxes.
Academic cheating, therefore, is not just an academic problem, and curbing this behavior is something that academic institutions are beginning to tackle head-on, says Stephen F.
“It was impressive to us how exposing participants to an honor code and really making morality salient in that situation basically eliminated cheating altogether,” she says.
APA maintains an archive of our published material throughout our websites.“Everyone at the institution — from the president of the university and the board of directors right on down to every janitor and cafeteria worker — has to buy into the fact that the school is an academically honest institution and that cheating is a reprehensible behavior,” Davis says.The increasing amount of pressure on students to succeed academically — in efforts to get into good colleges, graduate schools and eventually to land good jobs — tends to be one of the biggest drivers of cheating’s proliferation. 3), for example, Harvard University psychology and organizational behavior graduate student Lisa Shu and colleagues conducted a series of experiments, one of which involved having undergraduates read an honor code reminding them that cheating is wrong and then providing them with a series of math problems and an envelope of cash.The statistics don’t get any better once students reach college. 1), researchers found that nearly 82 percent of a sample of college alumni admitted to engaging in some form of cheating as undergraduates.In surveys of 14,000 undergraduates conducted over the past four years by Donald Mc Cabe, Ph D, a business professor at Rutgers University and co-founder of Clemson University’s International Center for Academic Integrity, about two-thirds of students admit to cheating on tests, homework and assignments. Some research even suggests that academic cheating may be associated with dishonesty later in life. A 2009 survey, also by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, reports a further correlation: People who cheat on exams in high school are three times more likely to lie to a customer or inflate an insurance claim compared with those who never cheated.In Shu’s study on the morality of cheating, for example, she found that participants who passively read a generic honor code before taking a test were less likely to cheat on the math problems, though this step did not completely curb cheating.Among those who signed their names attesting that they’d read and understood the honor code, however, no cheating occurred.These students also reported a greater degree of cheating acceptance after participating in the study than they had prior to the experiment. “This knowledge causes students — particularly those who would not have otherwise — to cheat because they feel like they need to stay competitive and because it creates a social norm of cheating.” Peer effects, however, cut both ways, and getting students involved in creating a culture of academic honesty can be a great way to curb cheating.They also found that, while those who read the honor code were less likely to cheat, the honor code did not eliminate all of the cheating, “Our findings confirm that the situation can, in fact, impact behavior and that people’s beliefs flex to align with their behavior,” Shu says. “The key is to create this community feeling of disgust at the cheating behavior,” says Rettinger.Davis, Ph D, emeritus professor of psychology at Emporia State University and co-author of “Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).New research by psychologists seems to suggest that the best way to prevent cheating is to create a campus-wide culture of academic integrity.