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Pun of cheating

Beliefs and values are thought stable traits we wield against unwise decisions. A study by Lisa Shu and her colleagues at Harvard University discovered these traits are actually bent or broken depending on the conduciveness of circumstance.

In other words, given the chance or the right circumstance, man tends to cheat. A salisi-gang member probably had known much about this principle than anyone else.

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When was the last time your value was perturbed due to an opportune moment?

The success of NBN/ZTE project—the broadband to link government to public and private institutions—could have greatly curtailed the conduciveness to cheat.

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These links would eliminate traditional direct-personal-transactions, which breeds temptation to cheat. Is this why we were adamant this project will not work by initiating cheating before it even started? High creativity score one study reveals, “People who score higher on psychological tests of creativity are more apt to engage in dishonesty—creativity and tactical deception are both products of the neocortex… not just anatomically correlated but causally connected,” revealed Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely of Duke University in their study.

Ingrid Wickelgrenj, editor of American Scientific MIND expounded in her piece, Unveiling the Real Evil Genius, “They are better at self-deception: they come up with more inventive rationalizations for cheating as a way of making themselves feel better about doing it.”

Ironically, authors and microbiologists Fang and Casadevall averred in their study “…To the creativity and intelligence that we regard as distinctly human might have arisen alongside our ability to deceive. We are who we are because we cheat.”

Fear of loss

The Philippines, reported in the Transparency International Global Corruption Index in 2010, remains in the ‘highly corrupt’ category—ranking 134th out of the 178 countries. A kibitzer reminds us of the irksome word “kurakot”—all rooted in fear of loss? Carl Jung has collective unconscious; is “collective greed” possible?

Current studies show ‘fear of loss’ may drive dishonesty. Marketing researcher Scott Rick of University of Michigan, and behavioral economist George F. Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University report: “Dread—great fear or apprehension—is an even more powerful motivator than the desire for reward.”

We find this in the academe too. “Much of the cheating in academia probably stems from concern over the potential demise of a career rather than the prestige of publication,” writes neuroscientist R. Grant Steen of Medical Communications Consultants in Chapel Hill, N.C. This relates to the old publish-or-perish dictum. Pun of cheating

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Behavior observation

Research tells us that cheating can spread through ‘copycat behavior.’ Observing someone else cheat without apparent consequences strongly encourages others to do the same. Affirming the adage, “Kung nakalusot siya, makalulusot din ako…”

In one experiment, students took a spelling test in a room fitted with one-way mirrors. All sorts of reference books were conspicuously present in the room, and students were instructed not to peek at these. The study revealed respondents were three times as likely to disobey when a research confederate posing as a cheating student initiated the act. Agata Blachnio and Malgorzata Weremko of Poland conducted the study in 2011.

Another study suggests, “Reminders (literally posting signs, like speed limits) to obey the rules are effective tactics for curtailing cheating.” The idea is to “publicly shame” those violating the sign. Culturally, I believe, this works very well in the States. We stop—when the sign says so—regardless of vehicular absence in every intersection.

In 2007, an idea proposed by columnist Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta comes to mind: Emblazon every car-plate-number in the metropolis these words: “Walang Suhol.” This was thought an effective tactic to manifest disdain or instill shame to the practice.

The proposal has some scientific merits. However, could this research-based concept have survived… culturally?

You be the judge.

The author is a specialist in clinical psychology, educator, researcher and a published author. He is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), and a Fellow of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP).

E-mail [email protected] or [email protected]

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TAGS: Behavior, cheating, graft and corruption
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