College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jessica Choplin, PhD

Second Advisor

Tim Cole, PhD

Third Advisor

Ralph Eber, PhD


Understanding why consumers fall prey to fraud and scams is a critically important area of research. Yet few comprehensive models of fraud victimization exist. The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion (ELM; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) is a possible exception (e.g., Rusch, 1999; Langenderfer & Shimp, 2001; Lea et al., 2009), but the predictions of ELM remain to be empirically tested in a fraud-related decision context. Here, four experiments testing the predictions of ELM in a predatory student lending scenario are presented. Although results only partially supported the predictions of ELM, it is suggested that ELM can continue to serve as a useful framework to better understand consumers’ vulnerability to fraud. With 44 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. today owing a collective $1.48 trillion, it is critical that research continues to focus on better understanding disadvantageous decision-making in this context.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons