Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cheating Lessons, Part One

Welcome to readers from the Chronicle of Higher Education, who are stopping in from my May 29th column on cheating in higher education.  If you are interested in following up on some of the research that I cite in the column, you should check out Dan Ariely's book The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty, in which he lays out the evidence for his claim that the structures of our daily environment play an important role in determining whether or not we cheat.

If you are interested in learning more about the Princess Alice study, conducted by Jesse Bering and two colleagues, you can find a link to the published abstract here, and a newspaper report about the experiment here.  Jesse Bering publishes widely in both academic and trade venues; you can read all about him and his work at his website.

The official publication date of Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty, is July 29, 2013. It's available for pre-ordering here.

Before my summer hiatus begins, I'll be presenting the argument of the book three final times, beginning this Saturday at the Teaching Professor Conference in New Orleans.  From there I'm off to Seattle Pacific University, where I will be speaking and working with the faculty on this subject and its implications for our teaching. My final event will be at Ken Bain's Best Teachers Summer Institute, where I will be presenting the book's main argument again on the afternoon of Thursday, June 20th.

In short, you will have multiple opportunities to learn more about the argument I have to make about cheating, both in print an in person, in the coming weeks and months!  I look forward to engaging with college faculty and other teachers who are interested in these questions in order to help us work together to discover how to create learning environments that reduce the incentive and opportunity for students to cheat, and induce their motivation and interest in learning in our courses.

One final note.  I spent all of last week in a seminar on "Free Will and Moral Virtue."  A dozen faculty members spent six hours every day listening to presentations and discussing these large topics from a variety of perspectives--neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, etc.  I saw this as an opportunity to cleanse my mind from two years of thinking and writing about cheating, and perhaps open up new avenues of thinking for whatever my next project might be.  But when one of the psychologists learned that I had a book coming out about cheating, she handed me this fascinating article, in which two researchers demonstrate that belief in determinism increases the likelihood of people to cheat.

"Does the belief that forces outside the self determine behavior," the authors speculate, "drain the motivation to resist the temptation to cheat, inducing a 'why bother?' mentality?"

1 comment:

  1. Professor Lang, I really appreciate this column and I'm looking forward to the next in the series, along with your upcoming book! As a student in a rather large grad program where the tendency to cheat is rather discouraging, I am looking forward to getting more perspective on this issue.