April 20, 2018


The University of Cambridge is in the news again, but this time around it’s for positive reasons. Researchers from University of Cambridge and University of Helsinki, have developed an online questionnaire that gives the participants an opportunity to test their likelihood of falling for an online scam.

The free-to-use questionnaire is called Susceptibility to Persuasion II or StP-II test, and is the second and more comprehensive version of the test that the team had developed five years ago.

In this regard, first author of the paper, Dr David Modic, who is presently working at Cambridge’s Department of Computfer Science and Technology has said, “We are not aware of an existing scale that would measure all the constructs that are part of StP-II. There are existing scales that measure individual traits, but when combined, the sheer length of these scales would present the participant with a psychometric tool that is almost unusable.”

When a participant takes the test, they will be shown a brief overview of ten categories that researchers believe accurately demonstrates how susceptible the individual is. These categories are primarily based on the behavior and inclinations of the individuals and includes their ability to premeditate, their consistency, sensation seeking, self-control, social influence, need for similarity, attitudes towards risk, attitude towards advertising, cognition and uniqueness.

The questionnaire also involves some other demographical queries to make the larger data set fit for further research. In one of the researches for which data was collected in collaboration with the BBC, it was found that out of the ten categories, the ability to premeditate is the most deciding predictor.

To actually take part in the test, aspirants can visit the University of Cambridge and open the questionnaire web page on survey.deception.org.uk. The test takes around 10 minutes and asks for participants’ likelihood of committing certain actions under specific hypothetical scenarios.

For the people who are interested in taking the test, Dr Modic has said, “The immediate benefit of StP-II is that people will get an indication of the sorts of things they should look out for”. He also stated that “StP-II doesn’t just measure how likely you are to fall for scams, it’s how likely you are to change your behaviour.”



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