Human Factors

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Investigation of the Effect of Incidental Fear Privacy Behavioral Intention PDF 467Kb

Abstract. Incidental emotions users feel during their online activities may alter their privacy behavioral intentions. We investigate the effect of incidental affect (fear and happiness) on privacy behavioral intention. We recruited 330 participants for a within-subjects experiment in three random-controlled user studies. The participants were exposed to three conditions neutral, fear, happiness with standardised stimuli videos for incidental affect induction. Fear and happiness were assigned in random order. The participants' privacy behavioural intentions (PBI) were measured followed by a Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS-X) manipulation check on self-reported affect. The PBI and PANAS-X were compared across treatment conditions. We observed a statistically significant difference in PBI and Protection Intention in neutral-fear and neutral-happy comparisons. However across fear and happy conditions, we did not observe any statistically significant change in PBI scores. We offer the first systematic analysis of the impact of incidental affects on Privacy Behavioral Intention (PBI) and its sub-constructs. We are the first to offer a fine-grained analysis of neutral-affect comparisons and interactions offering insights in hitherto unexplained phenomena reported in the field.

Note. Uchechi Phyllis Nwadike and Thomas Groß. Investigation of the Effect of Incidental Fear Privacy Behavioral Intention. arXiv:2007.08604, 2020.

Short version:

Uchechi Phyllis Nwadike and Thomas Groß. Investigating the Effect of Incidental Affect States on Privacy Behavioural Intention. In Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop in Socio-Technical Aspects in Security (STAST'2019), LNCS 11739, Springer Verlag, 2020, pp. 181-204

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Impact of fear and stress on password choice PDF 766Kb

Abstract. The current cognitive state, such as cognitive effort and depletion, incidental affect or stress may impact the strength of a chosen password unconsciously. We investigate the effect of incidental fear and stress on the measured strength of a chosen password. We conducted two experiments with within-subject designs measuring the Zxcvbn log10 number of guesses as strength of chosen passwords as dependent variable. In both experiments, participants were signed up to a site holding their personal data and, for the second run a day later, asked under a security incident pretext to change their password. (a) Fear. N_F = 34 participants were exposed to standardized fear and happiness stimulus videos in random order. (b) Stress. N_S = 50 participants were either exposed to a battery of standard stress tasks or left in a control condition in random order. The Zxcvbn password strength was compared across conditions. We did not observe a statistically significant difference in mean Zxcvbn password strengths on fear (Hedges' g = -0.11, 95% CI [-0.45, 0.23]) or stress (and control group, Hedges' g = 0.01, 95% CI [-0.31, 0.33]). However, we found a statistically significant cross-over interaction of stress and TLX mental demand. While having observed negligible main effect size estimates for incidental fear and stress, we offer evidence towards the interaction between stress and cognitive effort.

This is the author's copy of our work, building foundations for WP4 Usable Security.

Definitive version: Tom Fordyce, Sam Green, and Thomas Groß. Investigation of the effect of fear and stress on password choice. In proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust (STAST '2017), 2018, pp. 3-15.

The pre-registration of this work is available at its OSF repository.