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Not seldom people are accused because of plagiarism. Then people get angry how someone could dare to steel thoughts and ideas of other people. But sometimes it is by no means the intention of the person who copied the ideas of others, it’s just cryptomnesia.

At first, copying can happen in different ways. For example with specific sentences, facts or arguments. Often plagiarism happens unconsciously because the writer doesn’t recognize his or her own thoughts as unoriginal.

Especially the persons affected by cryptomnesia suffers from the blame. Actually, they have no memory that they took their ideas and thoughts from someone else.

The following experiment on cryptomnesia was done by Brown and Murphy:

Step one: A group of people generate examples for specific topics.

Step two: People try to remember only their own examples, not the ones from other group members.

Step three: The people should now generate new examples, these should not be previous examples.

At step two, 75% of the participants produced at least one plagiarized item and at step three, 70% did so.

Self-plagiarized items were rare. Nearly all examples were taken from other students.

Thanks for participating. See you!

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