I should have known better: development of a self-report measure of gullibility

Alessandra K. Teunisse*, Trevor I. Case, Julie Fitness, Naomi Sweller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this research was to explore the predictors of gullibility and to develop a self-report measure of the construct. In Studies 1 to 3, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on a large pool of items resulting in a 12-item scale with two factors: Persuadability and Insensitivity to cues of untrustworthiness. Study 4 confirmed the criterion validity of the scale using two distinct samples: scam victims and members of the Skeptics Society. Study 5 demonstrated positive relationships between gullibility and the self-reported persuasiveness of, and likelihood of responding to, unsolicited emails. Throughout the article, analyses of a variety of measures expected to converge with the scale provided evidence for its construct validity. Overall, these studies demonstrate that the construct of gullibility is distinct from trust, negatively related to social intelligence, and that the Gullibility Scale is a reliable and valid measure of gullibility.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)408-423
    Number of pages16
    JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
    Issue number3
    Early online date28 Jun 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


    • gullibility
    • trust
    • social intelligence
    • cognitive ability
    • scams


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