Inadvertent plagiarism, also known as cryptomnesia, involves being presented with another person’s idea and then reproducing it later, believing it to be a new idea. Although this type of plagiarism is unintentional and is usually completely unconscious, it can still have serious consequences. Though inadvertent plagiarism has been studied before, the degree of familiarity between the plagiarizer and the original author has never been studied as a factor. In the present study, researchers studied whether study participants were more likely to inadvertently plagiarize people they knew as opposed to strangers. Subjects were asked to generate words from given categories with a group of subjects of varying familiarity. Following a distractor task, subjects were given a memory test over the items previously generated and were asked to avoid responses generated by other subjects. Results suggest that closer familiarity of participants increases the likelihood they will inadvertently plagiarize.
Elizabeth Jerkins, ’15
Sponsor: Suzette Astley