Effects of personality and situational variation in locus of control on cheating: Determinants of the “congruence effect”

Stuart A. Karabenick, Thomas K. Srull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Thirty‐two male and 32 female introductory psychology students were given the opportunity to falsely report success (i.e., to cheat) on a series of objectively unsolvable achievement tasks. Consistent with previous evidence, a Personality × Situational Locus of Control interaction effect, accounting for 24% of the variance, was found whereby persons classified as having generalized internal locus of control beliefs (internals) cheated more when the task was described as requiring skill while those with external control beliefs (externals) cheated more when chance presumably determined performance outcomes. Differing rates of task persistence, postperformance belief and affect ratings, and stated reasons for cheating (or not) were consistent with both affective and cognitive theories in explaining the cheating behavior. It was hypothesized that whereas internals cheated to conform to their status on the internal stable dimension of ability, externals were concerned with maintaining a belief in their status as fortunate individuals, also conceived as an internal stable attributional determinant. No sex differences in cheating or persistence behavior were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-95
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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