The five techniques are:
Denial of Responsibility. If offenders see themselves as lacking any responsibility for their actions, then the effectiveness of disapproval of self or disapproval of others, as a restraining influence on behavior, is sharply reduced. Offenders may see themselves as “billiard balls” that are helplessly bumped around from situation to situation through no fault of their own. By viewing themselves as being more acted upon than acting on, offenders do not have to face responsibility for their actions (Cite). Cheaters may consider laws so vague and ambiguous that it was not their fault they broke them. They may plead “momentary insanity,” “ignorance,” “accident,” or “acting under orders” or try to shift the blame to higher authority (Cite). This denial of responsibility helps them free themselves from experiencing any culpability for their deviance by allowing them to perceive of themselves as victims of their environment (Cite).
The Labeff et al. survey of student cheaters (Cite) found that denial of responsibility was the justification most often used as a reason for cheating. Some students said they did not intend to cheat until other students presented them with the opportunity; they also blamed these other students for letting their papers be copied. McCabe’s survey of cheaters found that 61 percent of them claimed denial of responsibility as a justification for their cheating; most of them claimed they had a mind block (Cite)
Denial of Injury. The law differs in its view of crimes that are Mala in se (wrong in themselves) and crimes that are Mala prohibita (wrong because they are prohibited). Offenders use this same reasoning to differentiate between their own behaviors so they can deny any injury or harm from their actions. By denying the wrongfulness of their actions, such as by considering vandalism as mischief or larceny as borrowing, offenders can deny there was any actual injury or harm from their actions (Cite). Sometimes offenders even claim their activities were economically beneficial to their victims, and therefore, no harm was done (Cite). Since society sometimes supports these same distinctions between wrongs, it further supports the offender’s denial of injury since it makes the wrong appear as just a common practice (Cite). This allows offenders to feel their deviance may be executed without any direct harm to others (Cite). Student cheaters may also use denial of injury to justify their actions. They may say: “Nobody was hurt” or “Higher grades make the school look better” or “It doesn’t cause anyone to lose any money.”
Labeff et al. (Cite) failed to find any evidence of denial of the injury in their survey of student cheaters. In McCabe’s survey of student cheaters, only four percent of them claimed denial of injury as justification for their cheating, with the most students feeling cheating was harmless (Cite).