Do Students Follow the Wisdom or the Madness of Crowds?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


The collective decisions of groups of people can often be better or more accurate than the decisions of individuals. Still, many examples in human history show that bad ideas can be whipped up in large groups of people. When searching for what product to buy, what restaurant to visit, or what movie to attend, people often use popularity as a useful rule of thumb. Together, the phenomena of being informed by, and following, the crowd shows people’s tendency to be influenced by norms. Referring to norms as a guide as to what to do in a situation, and being influenced by norms, is a common theme in social sciences research on academic integrity. Students’ decisions to plagiarise, cheat, or follow good academic citation practices are influenced by what other students are doing. These decisions are also influenced by what students think other students are doing. Norms come in several forms, such as descriptive, injunctive, subjective, objective, and cultural. The influence of norms can be overt or non-conscious. This chapter considers the roles of norms in influencing academic misconduct and how norms can be used to improve academic integrity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademic Integrity in the Social Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives on Pedagogy and Practice
EditorsGuy Curtis
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-43292-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-43291-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameEthics and Integrity in Educational Contexts


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