Plagiarism–or Cryptomesia?

Writing for Newsweek, Russ Juskalian explores the my-subconscious-did-it defense for plagiarism: cryptomesia. He quotes UGA cognitive psychologist Richard Marsh:  “When people engage in creative activity, they are so involved in generating or coming up with something new or novel that they fail to protect against what they previously experienced.”

But as Juskalian points out, writers can prevent inadvertent plagiarism “with a little conscious effort,” such as taking notes or simply being sourceminded.

Instructors can help keep plagiarism on students’ radar. Discussing academic honesty several times over the course of a semester, sourcing material used in class, practicing citation, and requiring students to turn in multiple drafts of papers (with footnotes required well before the final version) may head off problems.


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