Online Decision-Making in Receiving Spam Emails Among College Students

Yan Z., Gozu H.

International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, vol.2, no.1, pp.1-12, 2012 (Scopus) identifier


Decision-making in the real world has been extensively studied, whereas decision-making in the cyber world is relatively unknown. The present study investigated how email users made their decisions to read or delete spam emails, unsolicited junk emails sent indiscriminately, when they received various kinds of emails in the everyday life. An experimental survey was designed to manipulate two variables, decision-making strategy (intuitive or rational decision) and information availability (limited or detailed information), and administrated via a professional survey website PsycData to 171 college students. It was found that (a) rational decision strategy outperformed intuitive decision strategy, (b) better decision was made with detailed information than with limited information, (c) the effect size of information availability was approximately ten times as large as that of decision-making strategy, and (d) no interaction effects was present between decision-making strategy and information availability. Practical implications are discussed.