Cheating? Me? NEVER!

Cheating? Me? NEVER!

Throughout the years, academic dishonesty has increased at an alarming rate. Several studies were conducted regarding dishonest academic behavior among students. Davis et al. (1992) nicely summarize a constant increase of cheating behavior among students raging from a prevalence of 23% in 1941 to 76% in 1989. Such high rates of cheating makes us wonder… Do these high rates also represent the students at Maastricht University? We therefore decided to go ahead and see how many of our fellow students have cheated during their academic career.

To study dishonest behavior we had our participants complete five math puzzles (Verschuere et al., 2018), from which the last was impossible to solve. Now, not many people cheat for the sake of cheating right? People cheat if there is something that they want to achieve or obtain that they believe they wouldn’t manage without cheating. That could be a good grade in an exam for instance. Therefore, we provide our participants with an opportunity to be part of a raffle for a 10Euro voucher if they had successfully completed all math puzzles. To simplify the process we didn’t ask them to tell us the solutions obtained. Due to that we obtained a direct result of dishonest behavior among UM students. 

Later, we decided to also investigate which types of cheating students mostly use, not only in exams but also in papers. It is very interesting to see the different and creative ways in which students cheat nowadays. Students can get examination questions or answer keys from illegal sources, turn in someone else’s work as their own, looking at other student’s exam answers, use phones to look up exam answers, etc. So, which technique do UM students use? To investigate this, we used the Crosswise Model which allowed us to observe the unbiased prevalence of such dishonest behaviours and maintain the students’ anonymity.

Research Practical Group 22 CWM


Davis, S. F., Grover, C. A., Becker, A. H., & McGregor, L. N. (1992). Academic dishonesty: Prevalence, determinants, techniques, and punishments. Teaching of Psychology, 19(1), 16-20.

Verschuere, B., Meijer, E. H., Jim, A., Hoogesteyn, K., Orthey, R., McCarthy, R. J., … Yıldız, E. (2018). Registered Replication Report on Mazar, Amir, and Ariely (2008). Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 1(3), 299–317.

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