Emma Williams

Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Bristol

Emma is a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist, and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Her primary research interests include exploring how people perceive, consider and make decisions about risk in relation to emerging technologies and online activities. In particular, how these judgments may be influenced by wider contextual factors, which are often experienced in applied contexts. She is also interested in how we can best communicate information about online risks to people so that they feel empowered to make informed choices.

She completed her PhD in the area of deception at Cardiff University, before spending 3 years working within applied behavioural science research roles in the public and private sector.  She returned to academia to take up a post-doctoral position under Professor Adam Joinson, conducting research exploring individual differences in susceptibility to malicious forms of influence online, such as phishing emails and online scams, using a combination of laboratory-based and field-based studies in collaboration with a range of organisations. She was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship at the University of Bristol in 2017 to undertake research focused on human aspects of cyber security and cybercrime.

Personal webpage


Williams, EJ & Polage, D. (2019) How persuasive is phishing email? The role of authentic design, influence and current events in email judgements. Behaviour & Information Technology, 38, 184-197.

Williams, EJ & Muir, K (2019) Manipulating trust: exploiting communication mechanisms and authenticity cues to deceive. In Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication. Palgrave Macmillan.

Williams, EJ, Hinds, J., & Joinson, A. (2018) Exploring susceptibility to phishing in the workplace. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 120, 1-13.

Williams, EJ, Morgan P & Joinson A (2017) Press accept to update now: Individual differences in susceptibility to malevolent interruptions. Decision Support Systems, 96, 119-129.

Williams, EJ, Beardmore A & Joinson A (2017) Individual differences in susceptibility to online influence: A theoretical review. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 412-421.

More from Emma…

Exploring Susceptibility to Phishing in the Workplace

Phishing emails provide a means to infiltrate the technical systems of organisations by encouraging employees to click on malicious links or attachments. Despite the...Read More »

Individual Differences in Susceptibility to Online Influence: A Theoretical Review

Scams and other malicious attempts to influence people are continuing to proliferate across the globe, aided by the availability of technology that makes it...Read More »

Press Accept to Update Now: Individual Differences in Susceptibility to Malevolent Interruptions

Increasingly, connected communication technologies have resulted in people being exposed to fraudulent communications by scammers and hackers attempting to gain access to computer systems...Read More »

What Makes People Susceptible to Malevolent Influence Online?

Dr Emma Williams’s research looks at what makes people susceptible to malicious attempts to influence them online, focusing on online scams and phishing emails....Read More »

Phishing scams are becoming ever more sophisticated – and firms are struggling to keep up

Companies are bombarded with phishing scams every day. In a recent survey of more than 500 cyber security professionals across the world, 76% reported...Read More »

Eliciting Information Online

…the internet often provides an ideal environment for those with malevolent intent to elicit information from victims. Emma Williams and Adam Joinson research scamming...Read More »

Tags from the story
, ,