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Are creative thinkers more likely to cheat?

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Some would argue that creative thinkers are more likely to cheat as both creativity and cheating are often driven by rule-breaking or doing something outside of what is considered normal.

Understanding cheating behavior has been the subject matter of many studies. Previous studies interpret cheating as motivated by self-interest, others point out that students simply find competition too fierce to play nice.

A recent study by the Harvard Business School links cheating with creativity. Researchers assert that creative thinkers might be more prone to dishonest behavior due to their predilection for thinking outside the box and more general rule bending. About 6 out of the 10 cheating participants in the study had also high creativity scores, suggesting a link between the two. This association seems to hold water given that both creativity and dishonest behavior are fueled and informed by rule breaking.

Statistics reveal that 7 in 10 students admit to having cheated. Given there would be a percentage that didn’t confess, the percentage of students having cheated at some point could grow to an even more discouraging. In the spring of 2012, Harvard was shaken by a cheating scandal that resulted in about 125 students being implicated and 60 of them being forced to withdraw.

Since then, some colleges have elected to tighten their proctoring practices to prevent such large-scale scandals from having an impact on their reputation or even worse potentially jeoporadizing their accredidtaion. The University of Central Florida for instance, in an attempt to deter cheating behavior among its students has established a testing center where students’ computer use is real-time monitored and their screenshots are taken if deviant activity is suspected. So far, the tech-powered proctoring at the University of Florida has paid of; the percentage of red-flagged incidents has drastically dropped since the testing centre was first introduced four years back.


ProctorFree offers a more affordable and scalable solution for exam proctoring and discouraging cheating-like behavior during exams. Instead of maintaining a separate testing facility, students can take their exams from anywhere while the faculty and administration can be assured that the student’s identity is being continuously verified and anti-cheating algorithms are at work in the background.

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