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Cheating is -- as an act of lying, deception, fraud, trickery, imposture, or imposition. Cheating characteristically is employed to create an unfair advantage, usually in one's own interest, and often at the expense of others.[1] Cheating implies the breaking of social rules. The term "cheating" is less applicable to the breaking of laws, as illegal activities are referred to by specific legal terminology such as fraud or corruption. Cheating is a primordial economic act: getting more for less, often used when referring to marital infidelity.

Education[edit | edit source]


The use of crib notes during an examination is cheating

Main article: Academic dishonesty

A common venue for cheating is in education settings, where it takes a number of forms. Cheating on tests (or other school-based work) may include the sharing of information among test takers or the use of covert notes or crib sheets. Obtaining the questions or answers to a test ahead of time is another form of cheating. On essay assignments or term papers cheating often takes the form of plagiarism. Another phenomenon of contract cheating has been observed, where students have work completed on their behalf. Internet plagiarism is a growing concern. Some schools subscribe to services which help them detect this type of cheating. Most colleges have written policies defining and punishing plagiarism.

Cheating is considered immoral by most, and may face stiff punishment if discovered, although some faculty indicate they are reluctant to take action against suspected cheaters. In colleges guided by an honor code, cheating could result in expulsion. Academic honor codes appear to reduce cheating; nonetheless, it remains quite common among students.


A small cheat sheet can be used to cheat during an academic examination.

There is enough evidence to conclude that academic cheating is an extremely common occurrence in high schools and colleges in the United States. 70% of public high school students admit to serious test cheating. 60% say they have plagiarized papers. Only 50% of private school students, however, admit to this. The report was made in June 2005 by Rutgers University professor Donald McCabe for The Center for Academic Integrity. The findings were corroborated in part by a Gallup survey.[citation needed] In McCabe's 2001 of 4500 high school students, "74% said they cheated on a test, 72% cheated on a written work, and 97% reported to at least had copied someone's homework or peeked at someone's test. 1/3 reported to have repeatedly cheated." [2] The new revolution in high-tech digital info contributes enormously to the new wave in cheating: online term-paper mills sell formatted reports on practically any topic; services exist to prepare any kind of homework or take online tests for students, despite the fact that this phenomenon, and these websites, are well known to educators,[3] and camera phones are used to send pictures of tests; MP3 players can hold digitalized notes; graphing calculators store formulas to solve math problems.[4] Increased competition for college admissions in recent years may also be to blame.

Sport[edit | edit source]

Further information: Doping (sport)

Another venue where cheating has occurred is in sport. An implicit agreement exists among participants that they will play by the rules and eschew unfair measures to win. Cheaters violate the spirit and/or the letter of the rules of competition. Examples include Ben Johnson's disqualification for doping in the 1988 Summer Olympics or the admissions of steroid use by former professional baseball players after they have retired, such as José Canseco[5] and Ken Caminiti.[6]]

Cheating refers to more than using illegal substances. Perhaps the most famous example of cheating in professional sport took place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup when Diego Maradona used his hand to punch the ball into the back of the net past the England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.[7] Using the hand or arm by anyone other than a goalkeeper is illegal according to the rules of soccer.

Another example of cheating frequently seen in sports is the use of non-regulation (vis-a-vis the rules) equipment. A baseball pitcher putting graphite or Vaseline on the baseball, to make it exit his hand faster is a good example of this.

Attempting to intentionally injure an opponent is an instance of poor sportsmanship that borders on cheating.

Gambling[edit | edit source]

Cheating in gambling is practiced to gain an unfair advantage over one's opponents or the casino, usually for monetary gain, but also to win wagers having a non-monetary forfeit. In poker and other card games, the cards can be manipulated by a skilled cheater. In casino settings, cards can be counted to predict when cards of a particular denomination are more likely to be dealt, and casinos regard this as an unfair advantage. Other gambling activities such as roulette and craps can give rise to cheating by the use of rigged equipment like loaded dice or rigged roulette wheels.

Gambling on sports events can give opportunities for cheating where a participant in the sport is disadvantaged (e.g. doping of horses) or disadvantages himself (e.g. a boxer "taking a dive") so that the outcome is known to selected gamblers who take advantage of this fact in placing bets.

Strength training[edit | edit source]

Cheating is also used to refer to movements in strength training that transfer weight from an isolated or fatigued muscle group to a different or fresh muscle group. This allows the cheater to move an initial greater weight (if the cheating continues through an entire training set) or to continue exercising past the point of muscular exhaustion (if the cheating begins part way through the set). As strength training is not a sport, cheating has no rule-based consequences, but can result in injury or a failure to meet training goals. This is because each exercise is designed to target specific muscle groups and if the proper form is not used the weight can be transferred away from the targeted group. However cheating can be beneficial if done correctly, proper instruction will help to avoid injury.

Personal relationships[edit | edit source]

Main article: Infidelity

With regard to human relationships, couples tend to expect sexual monogamy of each other. If so, then cheating commonly refers to forms of infidelity, particularly adultery.[8]. However, there are other divisions of infidelity, which may be emotional. Cheating by thinking of, touching and talking with someone you are attracted to may equally be as damaging to one of the parties. Emotional cheating may be correlated to that of emotional abuse, which to date is treated as seriously in a court of law as physical cheating. With the expansion of understanding of other cultures, there is a wide spectrum of what cheating means. When in a committed relationship, the definition of cheating is based on both parties opinions and both parties may redefine their understanding to match the party at an either lower or higher extreme of this definition. Some couples simply believe that cheating constitutes doing anything, whether verbal or physical, that one would not do in front of their significant other. Such examples would include: Kissing, Making out, and Sexual Relations.

Many people consider cheating to be any violation of the mutually agreed-upon rules or boundaries of a relationship, which may or may not include sexual monogamy. For example, in some polyamorous relationships, the concepts of commitment and fidelity do not necessarily hinge on complete sexual or emotional monogamy. Whether polyamorous or monogamous, the boundaries to which people agree vary widely, and sometimes these boundaries evolve within each relationship.

Ecological relationships[edit | edit source]

Main article Cheating (biology).

Between organisms of different species, cheating often refers an individual of a species not upholding its end of a cooperative bargain. For example, nectar robbers are birds and insects that are often related to or mimic pollinating species; however, nectar robbers take nectar from a flower without actually engaging in pollination.

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  2. The Case of the Purloined Paper by Brigid Schulte
  4. Reader's Digest, pp. 123-7, March 2006; Cheating: "but everybody is doing it".
  5. Canseco:Steroids made my baseball career possible
  6. Sports Illustrated:Steroids in baseball

See also[edit | edit source]


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