Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Study Looks at the the Thrill Individuals Get from Cheating...What Does This Mean Ethics Educators (and Educators in General)?

When you engage in unethical behavior, you are supposed to feel somewhat guilty, right? A study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has shown that individuals involved in six different studies reported a "cheater's high" after they cheated on different problem-solving tasks. This "cheater's high" occurred even in individuals who predicted that they would feel guilty after engaging in unethical behavior, and even when the financial incentive to cheat was removed. The New York Times has an good summary of the article.

The authors of the study predicted that, barring a financial incentive, or relief at not being caught,  people feel good about cheating because of a sense of self-satisfaction or a sense of superiority. This "cheater's high" points to a potential difficulty in changing  this kind of behavior. One way may be to eliminate the anonymity of the cheater, or emphasize how others are hurt by cheating. What are your thoughts on how this study might change your way of addressing issues of plagiarism and cheating in the classroom and beyond?

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