I Know My Rights! What Do You Mean, 'My Responsibilities'? Academic Entitlement: Sensitization Exercises

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2011


Student incivility refers to negative student behaviors that disrupt college classrooms and impede learning. Incivility has also recently been attributed to a phenomenon known as academic entitlement, an expectation of academic success without the related sense of personal responsibility (Chowning & Campbell, 2009). Academic entitlement has also been linked to increased anxiety, extrinsic motivation, and cheating (Greenberger, Lessard, Chen, & Farruggia, 2008). This construct has been identified and it is measurable; the next logical step was to investigate how best to reduce it in order to decrease student incivility. The current study used three sensitization exercises and a control group. Exercises included a presentation by an authority figure that introduced new policy to address academic entitlement, a peer group in which confederates reacted to a non-present, entitled student, and a thought experiment. Two hypotheses were tested. First, at least one of three interventions did significantly reduce entitlement. Second, a thought experiment was sufficient to arouse cognitive dissonance.


Gail Johnson

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology