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Bravest students 'unlikely to cheat'

world Updated: Aug 18, 2008 16:05 IST

It's a research many professors might not agree to -- the most courageous students are least likely to cheat in exams.

Researchers at Ohio State University have based their findings on two studies of over 400 students, which found that those who did not use unfair means scored highest in tests of courage and empathy.

In addition, the bravest students also scored higher than cheaters on tests of honesty, it was found.

"The honest students have a more positive view of others. Students who don't cheat seem to be in the minority, and have plenty of opportunities to see their peers cheat and receive the rewards with little risk of punishment.

"We see avoiding cheating as a form of everyday heroism in an academic setting," lead researcher Prof Sara Staats was quoted by the 'BBC News' portal as saying.

In fact, in the studies, the students were asked if they had cheated in classes in the past 30 days and in the past year and whether they would be likely to cheat in exams in the future.

The students also completed measures that examined their bravery, honesty and empathy. Those who scored in the top half were less likely to have reported cheating in the past 30 days and were less likely to intend to cheat later.

They also reported they would feel more guilt if they cheated and did not rationalise cheating the way others did. Moreover, they struggled to believe that their fellow students regularly committed academic dishonesty.

The studies have been presented at the 'American Psychological Association Conference'.