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Why neoliberal values of self-enhancement lead to cheating in higher education: a motivational account.

Pulfrey C, et al. Psychol Sci. 2013.


The significant number of financial and academic frauds hitting the headlines is paralleled by high rates of cheating in schools. Does adherence to the neoliberal values that underpin our economic and academic systems predict acceptance of cheating? Four studies revealed that adherence to neoliberal values of self-enhancement-power and achievement-predicts the motivation to gain social approval; this motivation, in turn, favors the adoption of context-specific competitive performance-approach goals, which predict the condoning of cheating. An experimental study showed that when participants were exposed to a source promoting the values of universalism and benevolence (self-transcendence values, the normative opposite of self-enhancement values), self-enhancement adherence ceased to predict the condoning of cheating. Most important, a classroom-based study addressed the core question of cheating behavior, revealing that adherence to self-enhancement values indeed predicted actual cheating behavior. These results point to the relevance of diagnosing societal values as social causes of cheating.


24058068 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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