Category: Psychology

Introduction

It was hypothesized that cheating will occur whenever students or other persons are given the chance to be anonymous (Ong & Weiss, 2006). For example, if a group of people is told to say their salaries and they are given a chance to remain anonymous then they will cheat the administrators. However, if they are required to include their identification information in their declarations then they will be less likely to cheat. Accordingly, students are also expected to cheat each time they are given a chance to remain anonymous.

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In this research we test the hypothesis that students are likely to cheat when they are given a chance to remain anonymous. Then, cheating will become more evident as students become more comfortable with the process of remaining anonymous.

Methodology

There were 51 subjects (N = 51 students) in two sections of an Introductory Psychology course at Schreiner. These included 21 male students and 30 female students. Mean age was 19.8 years. Standard deviation of age was 2.83 years. Three quizzes were given over the course of semester. First quiz was a practice quiz given at the beginning of semester (which did not count toward the grade). Second quiz was given after the first test had been taken (# correct were awarded as extra credit points). Third quiz was given after three tests had been taken (# correct were awarded as extra credit points). All quizzes consisted of 10 multiple-choice questions related to the material covered in the previous class meeting. Questions were shown on a screen and read aloud by the instructor one at a time. Answers were recorded by students on a scantron sheet and turned in with no name or any other identifying information. Students were provided with correct answers and were asked to report the number correct on a post-it-note sheet along with their names and folded in half so that their recorded responses and identifying information were hidden from view. Mean number correct on scantrons was compared to the mean number correct reported on the post-it-note sheets for all three conditions: practice quiz, quiz 1, and quiz 2.

Results and discussion

The results of the test are given below. It is clear that the number of correct answers in all of the quizzes is significantly higher for scantrons which were anonymous. On the other hand, the results were quite low when students had to give their results on the post-it-note sheets. The following results show averages for males and females in different quizzes. A glance on the results also shows that males were more likely to exaggerate their results and scores when compared to their female counterparts. Further, analysis also shows that regardless of the cheating that they did in reporting their scores, females fared better than their male counterparts. The results of females were slightly higher than those of their male counterparts. Lastly, males exaggerated their scores and results more when compared to females. They kept their exaggerated scores very high and close to 9 out of 10.

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