Exploring the Judgment–Action Gap: College Students and Academic Dishonesty

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This study examined differences between university students who were caught and sanctioned for cheating, students admitting to cheating but who were not caught, and students reporting that they had never cheated. Our findings showed that noncheaters are older, have better grade point averages, and have more sophisticated moral and epistemological reasoning skills. Qualitative analyses revealed that denial of responsibility and injury were the most common neutralization techniques and differed between the sanctioned and self-reported cheaters. We discuss the need to examine the extent to which reasoning skills have a causal impact on cheating behaviors.