Purpose and Hypotheses of the Study
The study by Olson and Shaw (2010) was constructed to determine when people first develop negative attitudes toward plagiarism. Three separate studies were conducted; Study 1, to determine attitudes toward plagiarism at different ages; Study 2, to determine at what age a child begins to understand ownership of ideas and formulating a negative attitude toward plagiarism; Study 3, to determine why children chose the evaluations that they did, to insure that it was based on their attitude toward copying and not some unrelated preference. Each of these studies was designed based upon the presumption that most adults have developed a negative attitude toward plagiarism and those who have a tendency to take credit for the work and ideas of others.
Study 1: Participants in this study consisted of four age groups; 7-year-olds, 9-year-olds, 11-year-olds and adults. There were 12 participants in each group. The 7-year-olds had an average age of 84.2 months, with a standard deviation of 8.5 months. There were 7 females and 5 males in this group. The 9-year-old group had an average age of 108.0 months, with a standard deviation of 5.9 months. There were 5 females and 7 males in this group. The 11-year-olds had an average age of 134 months, with a standard deviation of 6.2 months. There were 7 females and 5 males in this group. The Adult group had an average age of 24 years, with a standard deviation of 4.5 years. Seven of the adult participants were female and five were male. All child participants were selected from a database of families who agreed to participate in developmental research. The adults were selected from students participating in psychology laboratories and who had no knowledge regarding purpose or methods of this study.
Study 2: Participants in this study consisted of two age groups; 4-year-olds and 6-year-olds. The 4-year-old group had 40 participants with an average age of 49.2 months and a standard deviation of 7.5 months. There were 23 females and 17 males in this group. The 6-year-old group has 41 participants with an average age of 72.07 months and a standard deviation of 6.1 months. There were 23 females and 18 males in this group. All children were selected from a database of families willing to participate in child development research or from local preschools.
Study 3: Groups in this study were similar to those in Study 2; however the 4-year-old group in this study had only 24 participants with an average age of 47.1 and a standard deviation of 8.3 months. This group included 8 females. The 6-year-old group had 28 participants with an average age of 69.9 months and a standard deviation of 7.8 months. The group included 14 females. All participants were recruited the same way they were in Study 2.
Methods and Procedures
Study 1: Each participant in all groups was ask to rate how much they liked a person, on a scale of one to six, identified in a situation where that person either (1) copied someone else’s work, (2) coincidentally came up with the same idea as another person, or (3) came up with his own unique idea. A rating of six was a strong like, while a rating of one indicated strong dislike of that person. The rating results for each situation was compared to the other two yielding a relative like or dislike for the person in situation 1, 2, and 3. These results were then analyzed by the age group of the participants to determine if there was a difference by age. Study 2: The participants were divided into three groups. Each group watched three different videos of two male puppets drawing objects. Each situation defined in Study 1 was shown in one of the three videos. The subject of the drawings in each video in each group was the…