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The Psychology of Plagiarism
Unformatted Document Text:  plagiarizing estimated that half or more of their peers were copycats, 42.6 % of those who admitted to plagiarism thought half or more were poaching, too. Similarly, those who acknowledged plagiarism were more likely (26.1%) than the others (8.8%) to agree that cheating was necessary to get ahead in the world (χ 2 = 27.46, df = 1, p < .001). H5 was supported. H3 examined differences in Internet plagiarism. Respondents were asked to consider four one-sentence statements about copy-and-paste plagiarism from the Internet and indicate whether they agreed on a 5-point Likert scale. For example, the first scenario was stated: “Although Person A copied and pasted material from the Internet in a term paper, it’s not really plagiarism because the bibliography at the end of the paper listed the Internet as a source.” The other three scenarios involved (b) perceived professor culpability in not allowing enough time to complete assignments, (c) conceptualizing the Internet as an open-source vehicle that precludes plagiarism and (d) not intending to pass off the copied material as one’s own work. At least 71.3% of those who expressed an opinion on these four scenarios disagreed with each statement’s premise mitigating plagiarism. Because the responses were skewed, the results were dichotomized to avoid small cell-counts. Two of the four scenarios achieved significance using Yates’ correction for continuity: (a) relying on a bibliography and (d) the absence of intent. In each case, those who acknowledged plagiarism were more lenient in evaluating whether the scenarios constituted plagiarism. Although only 12.6% of those who did not indicate they had plagiarized believed a bibliography covered copy-and-paste plagiarism, 22.7% of those who acknowledged plagiarism agreed. Similarly, while 17.7% of those who had not plagiarized said a lack of

Authors: Lewis, Norman. and Zhong, Bu.
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plagiarizing estimated that half or more of their peers were copycats, 42.6 % of those 
who admitted to plagiarism thought half or more were poaching, too. Similarly, those 
who acknowledged plagiarism were more likely (26.1%) than the others (8.8%) to agree 
that cheating was necessary to get ahead in the world (χ
2
 = 27.46, df = 1, p < .001). H5 
was supported.
H3 examined differences in Internet plagiarism. Respondents were asked to 
consider four one-sentence statements about copy-and-paste plagiarism from the Internet 
and indicate whether they agreed on a 5-point Likert scale. For example, the first scenario 
was stated: “Although Person A copied and pasted material from the Internet in a term 
paper, it’s not really plagiarism because the bibliography at the end of the paper listed the 
Internet as a source.” The other three scenarios involved (b) perceived professor 
culpability in not allowing enough time to complete assignments, (c) conceptualizing the 
Internet as an open-source vehicle that precludes plagiarism and (d) not intending to pass 
off the copied material as one’s own work.
At least 71.3% of those who expressed an opinion on these four scenarios 
disagreed with each statement’s premise mitigating plagiarism. Because the responses 
were skewed, the results were dichotomized to avoid small cell-counts. Two of the four 
scenarios achieved significance using Yates’ correction for continuity: (a) relying on a 
bibliography and (d) the absence of intent. In each case, those who acknowledged 
plagiarism were more lenient in evaluating whether the scenarios constituted plagiarism. 
Although only 12.6% of those who did not indicate they had plagiarized believed a 
bibliography covered copy-and-paste plagiarism, 22.7% of those who acknowledged 
plagiarism agreed. Similarly, while 17.7% of those who had not plagiarized said a lack of 


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