Cheating, part 1: Why do people cheat?

CheatingThere’s a lot of attention in the media about cheating. Students cheating on papers, teachers cheating on reporting test scores, even administrators cheating by changing test answers.

Why do people cheat? Because they can’t handle the pressure and they want out. They’re anxious and they can’t tolerate the feeling of anxiety.

From the vantage point of the three legged stool performance model, where the optimal states for good performance are being calm, confident and focused, we can see that cheating comes from not being in those three states. A person who cheats is anxious or worried (even though they may try to mask that with considerable bravado), they have negative feelings about themselves (even though they say “I don’t care”), and their attention is fixed on getting to a result rather (“I want this over!”) than going through a process. In other words, they are not calm, confident and focused.  Test Success!, the book, is all about self-empowerment. In the next few posts we’ll look at how cheating undermines the process of growing and learning and what can be done about it.


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