Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Mark Taylor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Spector, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mauricio Palmeira, Ph.D.


Deception, Fraud, Heuristics, Mental Biases, Scam, System Mind


Fraud schemes exploit the complex interplay that results from utilizing deceptive appeals to activate underlying cognitive influences. This study was designed, first, to identify the deceptive appeals present in the messaging of fraudulent schemes and, second, to identify the underlying cognitive influences being exploited by the deceptive appeals utilized. Findings reveal that effectively used deceptive appeals work to keep viewers’ mental processes in a state of cognitive ease. This state allows cognitive influences--such as heuristics, cognitive biases, and the System 1 mind--to remain in control of mental processing; however, System 1 is prone to accept deceptive beliefs. The results of this study demonstrate a significant interplay and linkage between the use of deceptive appeals and the activation of underlying cognitive influences to propagate the fraud schemes analyzed in this study.