Once a cheater, always a cheater

High school cheaters “are far more likely than non-cheaters to lie to their spouses, bosses, and employees when they grow up,” writes Debbie Viadero of Inside School Research.  In a Josephson Institute study, 64 percent of high school students said they’d cheated on an exam in 2008, 42 percent said they’d lied to save money and 30 percent admitted stealing from a store. The study also talked to older people.

The study also found that, regardless of how old they are now, people who cheated in high school were three times more likely to lie to a customer (20% vs. 6%) or inflate an insurance claim (6% vs. 2%) and more than twice as likely to inflate an expense claim (10% vs. 4%) than people who never cheated in high school. The high school cheaters were also twice as likely to lie to or deceive their boss (20% vs. 10%) or lie about their address to get a child into a better school (29% vs. 15%) and one-and-a-half times more likely to lie to spouse or significant other (35% vs. 22%) or cheat on taxes (18% vs. 13%).

Viadero thinks character education would help. I’m dubious.

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  1. The only kind of character education that is likely to make a significant difference on a large scale is the kind you learn at home, by example, from your family and community. It’s called good upbringing.

  2. More specifically, people who are willing to admit to cheating in high school are willing to admit to cheating as adults – although I would guess that it correlates to actual cheating.

  3. wahoofive says:

    15% of the general population would lie about their address to get their kid into a better school?

  4. Cardinal Fang says:

    Students now are willing to admit to cheating, and even defend it. Has it always been true that cheaters proudly defend cheating?


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