Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Narcissism and Cheating in School

Narcissism has gotten a lot of attention lately, which is presumably just what it wants. The decision to drop narcissistic personality disorder from the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (usually referred to as the “DSM”) recently caused a bit of a backlash. Also, there’s a continuing debate about whether college students are becoming more narcissistic, an issue that was summarized nicely in The Chronicle Review a couple months back.

Now comes a new study that draws a link between narcissism and cheating. 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.

Read it all here.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Alice, I have an unrelated question for you. My husband and I recently had a debate on the difference between ethics and morals. Can you settle it for us? What IS the difference?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Ethics involves system and process whereas morals involve judgement and values. Sometimes the terms overlap, as when we speak of Kant's Deontological decision-making as a "moral system".

I hope that this is helpful.

Best wishes,
Alice C. Linsley