So, in 2009 Exeter University released findings from the first study into mass marketed email scams (and scams generally).
I find the psychology of scams and cons very interesting, because like cults (and to some extent, religions) they are jam-packed with human influence, suggestion, exploits, appeals to the emotional intuition above conscious rationality etc. You’ll probably learn more about human behaviour through studying scams than you will in a psychology degree.
Anyway, here’s an interesting finding from the study: “Our research suggests that there is a minority of people who are particularly vulnerable to scams. In particular, people who reported having previously responded to a scam were consistently more likely to show interest in responding again. Though a minority, it is not a small minority; depending on how it is assessed, it could be between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the population. Furthermore, the research suggests that the vulnerability is not specific to the persuasive techniques most characteristic of current common mass marketed scams, though it does include them.”
This percentage – 10-20% – is also the same figure reported by studies into what proportion of people are highly responsive to hypnosis. I wonder, then, whether its related. Perhaps people who are most responsive to hypnosis (and suggestion) are the same people who are vulnerable to the emotional influence of a well-designed scam.
Any thoughts or ideas? Share them here!