Monday, December 6, 2010
A previous study suggested that today's generation is more narcissistic than past generations (although others dispute the data). Now comes this study reporting that narcissists may be more likely to cheat. From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:
Researchers asked 199 college students from a 'regional Midwestern college' to take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a 40-question test that purports to measure one’s self-regard. They also had them complete a questionnaire that evaluated their academic dishonesty and how guilty (or not) they felt about what they’d done.
They found that students who tested high for a particular dimension of narcissism — exhibitionism — were more likely to be cheaters. The researchers define exhibitionism as a 'desire for admiration' that 'functions as a means to demonstrate superiority to others.' These students were less likely to feel remorse over their academic sins.
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The study . . . does makes a kind of intuitive sense: If your opinion of yourself is ridiculously high, and your desire to appear superior to others especially strong, then maybe cheating becomes an almost irresistible option. And if your primary goal in life is to publicly assert your awesomeness then how you achieve that objective isn’t important. Why feel guilty about doing what it takes to win? Right?
The study also seems to suggest a correlation between self-esteem and cheating. Those with high self-esteem tend to cheat less than those who have low self-esteem.
While I haven't read the study in full yet, I remember reading that another dimension of narcissism is the belief that one is above the natural laws. I wonder if that also causes some narcissistic students to cheat - the notion that they won't be caught or that there aren't consequences to their actions.
Interesting stuff - you can read more here.