Analytical reasoning reduces internet fraud susceptibility

Nicholas J. Kelley, Anna L. Hurley-Wallace, Katherine L. Warner, Yaniv Hanoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Fake websites extract an enormous financial and psychological toll on consumers across the globe, with some estimates reaching billions of dollars each year. Yet, there is a paucity of empirical data on why some consumers respond to fake websites while others remain immune. In nine studies (6 in the main text, 3 in Supplemental Materials) we tested the hypothesis that analytical reasoning promotes the ability to discriminate real from fake versions of popular consumer websites. We found evidence in support of this hypothesis in individual difference studies using both convenience (Supplemental Studies 1–2) and representative samples (Study 1) with expertise as a boundary condition of this effect (Study 2). We also found evidence for this hypothesis experimentally by inducing time pressure (Study 3) and priming participants to engage System 2 (analytic) versus System 1 (intuitive) processes (Study 4). This latter experimental effect was bounded by expertise (Study 5). Finally, we showed that the link between analytical reasoning and discriminability is mechanistically driven by memory recall (Study 6). Collectively, these studies provide convergent evidence that analytical reasoning may protect individuals from Internet fraud by helping them detect fraudulent websites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107648
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date12 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


This research was supported by grants from the University of Southampton Web Science Institute ( Research Collaboration Stimulus Fund to Nicholas J. Kelley (RCSF-2020-Kelley) and Yaniv Hanoch (RCSF-2019-Hanoch).


  • Analytical reasoning
  • Cognitive reflection
  • Internet fraud
  • Internet security


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