College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jessica M. Choplin, PhD

Second Advisor

Suzanne L. Fogel, PhD

Third Advisor

Kimberly A. Quinn, PhD


There is a constant stream of headlines in the news about fraud schemes swindling people out of their hard-earned money. When analyzing these schemes, it can be difficult to see why these scams work so well time after time. Often, the potential payoff to the victim is farfetched or even impossible to a third party looking at the situation after the fact. Why would someone comply with a fraudulent request with such an implausible benefit to themselves or maybe even seemingly no benefit? One of the tools utilized by unscrupulous scam artists is the social norm of reciprocity. Simply stated, the social norm of reciprocity is that we feel obligated to repay those who have provided a favor to us. This dissertation will investigate reciprocity and its power to influence people to comply with requests, where there are clear red flags they should run or at least ask clarifying questions to avoid being taken advantage of.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons