Phd William Patrick McClanahan III


Main Focus

My postdoc research harnesses the power of virtual reality and an ecologically valid sample to assess criminal decision-making. Convicted burglars are invited to explore a neighborhood, select a target to burglarize, and commit a burglary in VR and to go about it just as they would in the real world. The VR system tracks all their behavior in real time, such as where they look, how they walk around, which target they select, where they enter houses, and how they go about committing a burglary once inside the target. The results of our studies have provided us with an unprecedented level of detail regarding burglary behavior. Currently, my project looks at how various physical cues (or Easter Eggs as we call them) such as cars, neighborhood watch signs, and security alarms influence burglary decision-making.

Curriculum Vitae

  • 10/2017-02/2021: PhD, Psychology, University of Cambridge
  • 10/2016–07/2017: MPhil, Social and Developmental Psychology, University of Cambridge
  • 08/2011–12/2014: BS, Psychology, with Second Major in Criminal Justice, Roanoke College, Virginia


Journal Article
Basol, M., Roozenbeek, J., Uneal, F., Berriche, M., McClanahan, W. P., & van der Linden, S. (2021). Towards psychological herd immunity: Cross-cultural evidence for two prebunking interventions against COVID-19 misinformation. Big Data & Society. doi:10.1177/20539517211013868
Journal Article
Saleh, N., Roozenbeek, J., Makki, F., McClanahan, W. P., & van der Linden, S. (2021). Active inoculation boosts resistance against extremist persuasion techniques – A novel approach towards the prevention of violent extremism. Behavioural Public Policy, 1–24. doi:10.1017/bpp.2020.60
Journal Article
McClanahan, W. P., & van der Linden, S. (2020). An uncalculated risk: Ego-depletion reduces the influence of perceived risk but not state affect on criminal choice. Psychology, Law, and Crime. doi:10.1080/1068316X.2020.1837129
Journal Article
Roozeenbeek, J., Maertens, R., McClanahan, W. P., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Disentangling item and testing effects in inoculation research on online misinformation: Solomon revisited. Educational and Psychological Measurement. doi:10.1177/0013164420940378
Journal Article
McClanahan, W. P., van der Linden, S., & Ruggeri, K. (2019). Decision-making style mediates the relationship between trait self-control and self-reported criminal behaviour. Personality and Individual Differences. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109537
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