Archive for the ‘privacy’ tag

Effects of the physical and environmental factors on the perception of privacy on the web amongst teenagers   no comments

Posted at 8:42 am in Uncategorized


I am very interested to investigate the potential effects of the physical and environmental factors on the perception of privacy on the web amongst teenagers.

Environmental factors (such as the room that we publish our information from) or physical factors (such as the medium or device that we use and it’s characteristics including its size or portability) can play a crucial role in our perception of privacy. Examples of this can be seen amongst teenagers.

I found myself very interested in this subject after reading an article by Elizabeth Kandel Englander on cyberbullying that was published on the Harvard Education Letter recently. As part of this article Englander talks about the effects of the physical environment (including the location or size of the screen) on the perception of privacy amongst teenagers. She writes:

“In a study I’m currently conducting, about half of the teens who said they had sent or posted something they regretted said they did so while in their bedrooms—and 83 percent said it happened from a room inside their home. About two-thirds said they were using a device with a small screen—which can also promote a false feeling of privacy, since the screen size means that others can’t easily read over your shoulder. ”

But what exactly triggers this ? How does our brain trick us into believing that what we are sharing online is not going to be seen by many people and how do we get persuaded ? What is the thought process from the moment that our sensors collect information about the environment until the moment that the perception happens ? What role does biology play in creating the illusion of privacy in our brains?

I would like to approach this subject from the perspectives of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience.


cognitive  psychology:

I believe that approaching ideas about perceptions of privacy through perceptual psychology as a subset of cognitive psychology could shed light on how the teenage mind could interpret the stimuli from the physical environment in a way that it could create an illusion of privacy. Cognitive psychology could also help determine the cognitive processes that occur within the minds of the said teenagers which could direct the physical senses to lead into such conclusions.

cognitive  neuroscience:

Despite it being a very fast-growing field, neuroscience still has many questions unanswered. As it is a very diverse and wide discipline, I’m planning to focus on very basic details of the cognitive levels. This is perhaps an intersection between neuropsychology and biology and could potentially be where an expert cognitive-neuroscientist could come up with answers to complex questions about the way that the brain interacts with the environment. Without looking for answers, this could be a great opportunity to try to look at the issue from the perspective of a neuroscientist.


Some textbooks that I’m planning to use:

  1. Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind , Michael Gazzaniga , Richard B. Ivry , George R. Mangun
  2. The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience, Jamie Ward
  3. Cognitive Psychology and its Implications, John R. Anderson
  4. Cognitive Psychology , Robert L. Solso, Otto H. MacLin, M. Kimberly MacLin





Written by Faranak on October 13th, 2013

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Perspectives of Psychology and Marketing on the issue of Self-disclosure on the Web   no comments

Posted at 9:46 am in Psychology,Uncategorized

The opportunities that marketers are provided with in cyberspace have led them to seek means to facilitate a two-way communication with consumers aiming at building a relationship of trust with them. Given that marketing is much broader than selling as it encompasses the entire business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view, the ability of marketers to glean the types of information needed often depends on consumer’s willingness to volunteer such information.

This essay aims to examine to what extent consumers’ behaviour in cyberspace differs from the ‘real-world’ behaviour and whether concerns about privacy as well as scepticism about how marketers use data prevent consumers from disclosing personal information. The fact that marketing is based on the study of the psychological characteristics of consumers who engage in voluntary self-disclosure, combined with the application of psychological theories and techniques to marketing, indicate the close relationship between these two disciplines.

In order to unfold the different approaches on the abovementioned issue, I decided to first get myself familiar with the basic concepts and techniques of psychology. Psychology is both an applied and academic field that studies the human mind and behaviour. Research in psychology seeks to describe human thought and behaviour, explain why these behaviours occur, predict how, why and when these behaviours will occur again in the future and modify and improve behaviours to better the lives of individuals and society as a whole. There are three types of research methods, causal, descriptive and rational, while psychologists use a range of techniques including naturalistic observation, experiments, case studies and questionnaires. Topics and questions in psychology can be looked at in a number of different ways; some of the major perspectives in psychology include the biological, cognitive, behavioural, evolutionary, humanistic perspective.

Given that the web has created a new type of society where the presence of other human beings is implied rather than actual, I particularly focused my interest on the discipline of Social Psychology which aims to understand and explain the impact of the social environment on the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals. A basic concept of social psychology that describes our everyday interactions is the concept of self-disclosure which is defined as ‘the voluntary making available of information about one’s self that would not ordinarily be accessible to the other at that moment.’

Self-disclosure has received considerable attention from consumer psychologists as it plays a vital role in relationship development and maintenance. Although self-disclosure research has shown that people are reluctant to divulge information about themselves, one notable exception to this rule involves the norm of reciprocity which refers to the tendency for recipients to match the level of intimacy in the disclosure they return with the level of intimacy in the disclosure they receive; people are more likely to engage in self-disclosure if they first become the recipients of such disclosures from their conversational partners. A few researchers have suggested that consumers interact with the source of electronic communications in the same way they interact with other people; therefore reciprocity could make consumers more involved in self-disclosure even in cyberspace. Thus, theoretically, in order to trigger the reciprocity principle, a company would first have to reveal some information about itself to the consumer.


Botha, B., Strydom, J., Brink, A. (2004) Introduction to Marketing. South Africa: Juta and Co Ltd

Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: Science and practice. New York: HarperCollins.

Derlega,V. J.,& Chaikin, A. L. (1977). ‘Privacy and self-disclosure in social relationships’. Journal of Social Issues, 33, pp. 102–115

Gross, R. (2010) Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour. London: Hodder Education

Hill, C. T., & Stull, D. E. (1982). ‘Disclosure reciprocity: Conceptual and measurement

Issues’. Social Psychology Quarterly, 45, pp. 238-244

Holtgraves,T. (1990). The language of self-disclosure. In H. Giles & W. P. Robinson (Eds.), Handbook of language and social psychology. Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley

Joinson, A.N. (2001). ‘Self-disclosure in computer-mediated communication: The role of selfawareness and visual anonymity’. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31, pp. 177–192






Written by Evangelia Papadaki on October 22nd, 2012

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Quick Digital Economy Act Scribble   no comments

Posted at 12:39 am in Economics,Law,Sociology

Have just been reading up on the Digital Economy Act, and its various ramifications. I have created a scribble that seems to me to show one of the key points – that only jumped out at me as I was doodling – that once again, the web has made Januses of us. I think that most of us are both copyright holders and copyright ‘acquirers.’

And in this case, the ISPs aren’t necessarily bad – if you are a struggling writer, musician or artist then if they are called upon to help you protect what you would think of as yours, you’re not really going to complain. (Speaking as someone whose household gets to buy stuff from royalties coming in from the British Performing Society.) However, most struggling artists, musicians and writers are (perhaps because they’re struggling , perhaps because it’s part of the creative process), also avid ‘collectors’ of what they might not necessarily have paid for… Obviously the issue is far more complex than this.

Certainly BT and TalkTalk have requested the review because of concerns about privacy (n.b. BT and TalkTalk took up a diametrically opposite stance on this very issue when it came down to Phorm and RIPA – perhaps they are now more wary of some of these issues). It certainly brings to the fore the issue of what is property on the web, what is private property on the web, and how far a government should allow intrusion into people’s lives in order to monitor or recover what might be defined as private.

John Stuart Mill wrote:

‘The things once there…mankind, individually or collectively, can do with them as they please. They can place them at the disposal of whomsoever they please, and on whatever terms…Even what a person has produced by his individual toil, unaided by anyone, he cannot keep, unless by the permission of society. Not only can society take it from him, but individuals could and would take it from him, if society…did not…employ and pay people for the purpose of preventing him from being disturbed in his possession..’ (From Heilbroner, p.129).

Mill saw that the principle of private property had not had a fair trial, and that reform could make changes to outdated laws, without recourse to outright revolution. He feared that Communism would stifle individual thinking and feared ‘whether there would be any asylum left for individuality of character; whether public opinion would not be a tyrannical yoke; whether the absolute dependence of each on all, and the surveillance of each by all, would not grind all down into a tame uniformity of thoughts, feelings, and actions…no society in which eccentricity is a matter of reproach can be in a wholesome state.’ (Heilbroner, .p132).

The doodle is JUST a doodle, it’s not good graphic design and it’s very messy.

Digital Economy Act doodle

Written by me1g11 on December 31st, 2011

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PRIVACY (Politics & Psychology) – Blog post 5   no comments

Posted at 6:36 pm in Politics,Psychology

PRIVACY (Politics & Psychology) – Blog post 5

As my previous readings within Politics have led me to identify the areas of globalization and security as paramount in relation to the issue of privacy I have extended my reading to specific books focusing on this concepts.

Globalisation, Competitiveness and Human Security (1997) – Cristobal Kay ,states that globalisation can include political negotiations, cultural trends and increased internationalisation of economic activities. It is also the process whereby enterprises become interdependent and interlinked globally via strategic allegiances and international networks. The book  discusses changes occurring on a global level. Such changes are beyond the influence and henceforth the control of any individual person, community or even the government. It is therefore logical to link these dynamics to society experiencing feelings of insecurity over many related issues, including that of loss of privacy. After the end of the Cold War in 1989, which was predominantly viewed as a positive outcome as it reduced the fear of global military conflict which would have threatened peace and security, many political and economical reforms were instigated within developing countries and at the global level there was an overwhelming sense of security due to the dissolution of the threat of nuclear war. However it has been purported that there are new specific threats to human security, many of which have international or global dimensions as their root causes can be traced to events and processes occurring outside of their territories, namely globalisation and competitiveness. The UNDP (1994):23 produced a list which delineates all aspects of human security; on that list under political security was violation of human rights – privacy connotations. The implication is that globalisation and competiveness can be directly attributable to human development and to reduce people’s insecurities.

Globalization and insecurity – political, economic and physical challenges (2002) – Barbara Harriss-White, gave the definition of insecurity as ‘unsafe or unreliable’ and  determined that there are four areas of physical insecurity which are interrelated:

  1. Threats to persons, property and/or environments
  2. Economic and political autonomy of states
  3. Instability, particularly of market
  4. Vulnerability – a susceptibility to damage, closely but not completely aligned with poverty and inequality

This book also discusses globalization as a political process, whereby the main forces producing it have moved away from industry and weapon production towards instead, technology, information and communications, and financial control of everything else. It is suggested that it is the political project that causes insecurity via poverty, regulation of health and the reworking of national politics.

For the psychology part of my independent disciplinary review this week I have been reading : Self – Presentation Impression Management and Interpersonal Behaviour (1995) – Mark R. Leary. Self-presentation deals with the ways in which human behaviour is affected by people’s concerns with their public impressions. The norm would be that individuals would prefer that others perceive them in a flattering light rather than in an undesirable manner. Thus people may act in a certain way in order to make an impression on someone e.g. the job applicant in an interview. It is determined that generally people’s concerns with others’ impressions constrain their behavioural options and so individuals would be reluctant to conduct acts which would be seen as morally/ socially reprehensible in public. This is not necessarily negative though as a world where no-one cares about the opinions of others would be far more detrimental. Consider people saying or doing anything without considering the feelings of others etc. However it is possible for people to be too concerned with what others think about them which can lead to feelings of insecurity building up. The book also discusses the differences between exaggerations and lies in relation to the fact that individuals are multi – faceted and can therefore convey many different aspects of their characters, the majority of which may be genuinely true attributes, depending on the circumstances. Thus rather than lying per se, people may select the images they want others to form from their repertoire of true-self images.

There are two prevalent thinkers in relation to self-presentation: Erving Goffman who was a sociologist and wrote ‘The presentation of self in everyday life’ (1959) in which he determined that much can be gained by focusing on public behaviour, and Edward Jones (1990) ‘The study of impression’, in which he discussed management and self – presentation being an integral part of the study of interpersonal perception as it is not possible to fathom how people view each other without knowing the dynamic to self-presentation at the same time.

I will be continuing my reading further into these areas within my two disciplines as I feel that there is far more valuable information to be obtained towards the overall research.

Written by Lisa Sugiura on November 23rd, 2010

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Privacy (Blog 2)   no comments

Posted at 11:49 am in Politics,Psychology,Uncategorized

This past week I have continued to read further into my two disciplines of Psychology and Politics and how they relate to the issue of Privacy. For Psychology I have largely focused on the ‘Handbook of Self and Identity’ in order to gain more of an understanding of the psychological phenomena that constitutes ‘the self’. I was rather surprised to discover that this notion has only really been in prominence since the 1970’s and yet it is an issue that was given recognition Millenia ago by infamous thinkers such as Plato and Buddha! However it is noted that when attempting to determine the meaning of ‘self’ there is no single, universally accepted definition and that amongst the numerous definitions that have been offered, different definitions relate to different phenomena.

In accordance with the area of ‘self’ there is the notion of ‘the reflected self’ whereby an individual adjusts how their behaviour appears to others. The chapter: ‘The Reflected Self: Creating yourself as (you think) others see you by Dianne M. Tice and Harry M. Wallace is especially insightful and informative in this area. They explore the idea provided by C.H Cooley (1902), that the ‘self’ develops in reference to others within the social environment; ties in with the concept that it is created by reflecting the views that others are perceived to have of that person. The theory of ‘the looking glass’ is also imperative in this study.

Already referred to in my previous Blog. I have decided to start my initial investigation into Politics and potential political theories and policies which may be privacy related; by looking at security matters. For this I have been reading ‘Contemporary Security Studies’. Firstly I have tried to establish what is security. A simplistic definition is ‘something to do with threats to survival’, however this encompasses a wealth of issues ranging from war and the threat of war to pandemics and terrorism. Particular theories that are appearing relevant at this juncture are Realism and Liberalism: traditional approaches which were the main focus for security studies during the 19th Century, Human Security: which focuses on the need for humans to feel secure and Securitization which was developed by the Copenhagen School’: which places primary importance on determining how an issue becomes that of a security issue by how it is articulated for e.g. something may become a security issue due to the fact political leaders and or Governments have convinced their audiences that it represents a threat to our existence and thus requires emergency powers.

I am also reading books about privacy in light of technological advances and I am currently halfway through ‘Blown to Bits’ and once I have finished with that I have ‘The Digital Person’ by Daniel J. Solove. Thanks to Olivier I also have Journal articles relating to privacy to peruse too, so I have plenty of information to digest over the next week…….

Written by Lisa Sugiura on November 2nd, 2010

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Privacy from political and psychological perspectives and how this concept has been affected by the development of the Web   no comments

Posted at 11:40 am in Politics,Psychology

Privacy from political and psychological perspectives and how this concept has been affected by the development of the Web

I am attempting to ascertain the psychological and political concepts and epistemological principles relating to the issue of privacy and in accordance how they can be applied to conceptions of privacy matters on the web. My aim will be to determine whether or not these disciplines compliment or contradict each other in relation to this issue.

For the psychology part of my study I am largely going to undertake my research in the area of ‘The Self’ which is an established psychological school of thought, specifically the notion of the ‘Private Vs Public Self’. There could be a contrast between the two perceptions of individuals characters which the web could be helping to masquerade. For e.g. A person could have a hectic ‘online’ life and appear popular with lots of friends on Facebook or Myspace and not be concerned about their personal and sensitive information being apparent for all to see but in the real world be a closed and private person. On the other hand someone may utilize the web to conceal the parts of their self that they don’t want to share, thus they would be more anxious about themselves being afforded adequate privacy on the web.

Core textbooks –

  • Leary, R. & Tangney, J.P. (2003),Handbook of Self and Identity, The Guildford Press: New York.

  • Sedikides, C. The Self

For the political part of my studies I am focusing on core undergraduate textbooks in order to obtain a basic understanding of the main principles relating to political matters which can be applied or linked to privacy issues. I am making a start in the area of security networks and I have a particular interest in establishing the fundamental principles and ideas that influence the development of these networks. What are there priorities and what are there goals? Also with all the current furore of Governments ‘snooping’ on its citizens via technological means is it possible to determine whether national security is paramount over individual privacy?

  • Boucher, D. & Kelly, P. (2003), Political Thinkers – From Socrates to the Present’, Oxford University Press.

  • Collins, A. (2007), Contemporary Security Studies, Oxford University Press.

I am also conducting some reading of books which deal with establishing the notion of privacy and how this concept has differed in light of growing technological advances. The two books which I am currently reading are:

  • Kieron O’Hara and Nigel Shadbolt,

    The Spy in the Coffee Machine – The end of privacy as we know it.

  • Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen and Harry Lewis, Blown to bits –

    Your life liberty and happiness after the digital explosion.

Written by Lisa Sugiura on October 26th, 2010

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Privacy of the individual in the global village of the World Wide Web (1st Post)   1 comment

Posted at 1:29 am in Psychology,Sociology

Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively (as defined in Wikipedia). In other words, the individual has the ability to decide what is private, i.e. belongs only to him and what is public, i.e. is open to others as well.
However, in practice preserving one’s privacy or private information is not an easy task. In addition to this, in many cases the boundaries between private and public are obscure; especially on the Web, privacy is an area of controversy.
Nowadays, as people post their personal data online for various reasons (in social networking sites, blogs, electronic purchases etc.), many are concerned about who can control/access their data after these are exposed online. On the other hand, a significant number of people, especially younger people, are quite confident about posting their data online and feel no threats regarding their privacy; some of them are also ignorant of the possible threats. A privacy paradox emerges, as many people talk about intrusion of their privacy online, yet nobody actually takes action against it.
Numerous questions regarding privacy arise, such as which are the boundaries of privacy, how important is online privacy, how much information should people post online, how much information do organisations and governments actually need etc.
From a social standpoint, the Web is a “global village”, a very large social network, where anyone has the ability to access a great deal of information. This “global village” is beyond the boundaries of a specific group or nation, but extends itself worldwide. That means that each individual does not anymore belong to a small town or village; instead the Web contributes to bringing people from different backgrounds closer.
Since invasion of privacy is a common phenomenon on the Web, it affects global society directly.
However, different nations and cultures may have different opinions on what is public and what is private. Especially, eastern societies, which are more conservative, may have more strict opinions on certain privacy matters. Significantly, people who belong to some social/religious groups or are socially isolated for some reason, may be more vulnerable in terms of privacy.
Many are of the opinion that with the appearance of social networking sites, privacy is not anymore a social norm. Is this actually true? Should we stop believing that some information just belongs to us, but is open to the public instead?

From a psychological standpoint, people behave differently during their online interactions than during their offline interactions and something that they would consider public in the offline world, they may regard it as private in the offline world or vice versa. Of great interest are also topics such as the reasons why some people post their intimate thoughts or experiences online without thinking about the consequences and the way people manage or experiment with their online identities. Many people adopt an online persona, which might be very different than their actual self. This online role playing game, may be helpful to some (for instance to teenagers, who are at the stage of establishing their identity), but it might provoke privacy breaches, when malicious users try to hide themselves behind a mask. In the past, there have been many cases where people with malicious motives have approached others online (especially younger people).
To sum up, all the above mentioned are some initial thoughts on approaching the matter of privacy on the World Wide Web and are definitely going to be enriched and altered after thorough research. The list given below contains a number of books taken from these two disciplines that may be helpful in the analysis of the concept of privacy.

Reading List:

A. Sociology
• Global Sociology by R. Cohen, P. Kennedy 2nd Edition (2007)
• Social Divisions by G. Payne 2nd Edition (2007)
• Introductory Sociology by T.Bilton et al. 4th Edition (2002)
• Sociology by A. Giddens 6th Edition (2009)
• Sociology, Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn 7th Edition (2008)
• The rise of the network society by M. Castells Volume 1 2nd Edition (2000)
• The power of Identity by M. Castells Volume 2 2nd Edition (2004)
• The Internet Galaxy by M. Castells (2001)
• Computerization and Controversy: Value Conflicts and Social Choices by R. Kling 2nd Edition
• Social Identity and Social Cognition by D. Abrams (1999)
• Born Digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives by J. Palfrey (2008)
• Understanding Social Problems: Issues on Social Policy by M. May (2001)

B. Psychology
• Psychology by G. Martin et al. 3rd European Edition (2007)
• The Psychology of the Internet by P. Wallace (1999)
• Introduction to Social Psychology by R. Lippa (1999)
• Psychology – The Science of Mind and Behaviour by P. Gross 5th Edition (2005)

Written by az4g09 on February 20th, 2010

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