Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Dr. E.H. Nagel


The purpose of this study was to determine if there were significant personality differences between students who cheat in a given academic situation and students who do not cheat in the same situation. This was examined in terms of manifest needs, personality structure, and certain attitudes and values relative to the circumstances and setting in which the behavior occurred.

The sample studied consisted of 64 students, classified into 8 groups, from a class of 198 students enrolled in Psychology 213, Educational Psychology, at the University of North Dakota during the spring semester of the 1965--66 academic year.

The students were given the opportunity to grade their own hour examination and to report their grade on it, after it had been scored unknown to them by an IBM test scoring process. The eight groups were established according to cheating behavior, sex, and instructor.

Cheaters were defined as students whose self-reported scores on an hour examination were higher by two or more points than the grade reported for them on the same examination by a Data Processing examination grading system. Non-cheaters were defined as students whose two grades, self-reported and Data Processing reported, were identical.

Manifest needs, personality structure, and attitudes and values examined were measured respectively by the scales of the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS), the Minnesota Counseling Inventory (MCI), and a Semantic Differential (SD).

A three-way analysis of variance program and an IBM 1620 computer were utilized for analysis of the data. The major findings were that no significant differences between groups occurred on twenty of the scales of the instruments used -- the EPPS, MCI, and a SD. Of the scales yielding significant differences, the Achievement scale of the EPPS and the Mood scale of the MCI discriminated between cheaters and non-cheaters regardless of sex or instructor. Cheaters had a lower need for achievement as measured by the EPPS and a higher score on the Mood scale of the MCI, in the direction of pessimism.

A trait psychology dichotomization of individual behavior along a cheating and non-cheating continuum is incomplete and inappropriate for considering the dynamics of moral behavior.

There are two identifiable groups of students in the classroom, those who never consider cheating and those for whom cheating is an acceptable alternative depending on the situation. The discriminating variables between these groups are achievement need as measured by the EPPS and mood as measured by the MCI, non-cheaters having a higher need for achievement and a higher score (more pessimistic mood) on the M scale than cheaters.

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