The heightened sophistication of phishing attacks results in billions of dollars of financial losses, loss of intellectual property, and reputational damage to organizations. Unlike most studies on phishing that utilize a strict cognitive approach, this study attempts to explore phishing susceptibility with an emotional lens. Using an integrated perspective of emotion, we build on the Affective Information Model (AIM) to predict effects from valence (positive vs. negative), certainty (certain vs. uncertain), and arousal (high arousal vs. low arousal) on phishing susceptibility. We test our hypotheses using a mock phishing experiment (N = 474) and demonstrate that messages inducing positive valence and uncertainty result in higher phishing susceptibility. This study contributes to phishing literature by illuminating the critical role that emotion plays in inducing recipients’ susceptibility in their processing of phishing messages.
Tian, Chuan Annie and Jensen, Matthew L., "Effects of emotional appeals on phishing susceptibility" (2019). WISP 2019 Proceedings. 16.