Psychological Effects and Their Role in Online Privacy Interactions: A Review

Agnieszka Kitkowska, Yefim Shulman, Leonardo A. Martucci, Erik Wästlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Because of the increasing dependency on online technologies in even the most ordinary activities, people have to make privacy decisions during everyday online interactions. Visual design often influences their choices. Hence, it is in the hands of choice architects and designers to guide users towards specific decision outcomes. This "nudging" has gained much interest among scholars in interdisciplinary research, resulting in experimental studies with visual cues that may have the potential to alter attitudes and behaviors. Attitude and behavior changes are often attributed to several psychological effects manifesting in cognitive processing and decision-making. This article presents the results of a systematic literature review carried out to identify which psychological effects have been previously studied in the context of online privacy interactions. Subsequently, fifteen articles were selected and thoroughly reviewed, resulting in the identification of twenty psychological effects. The visual cues triggering these effects were recognized and classified against their capabilities to alter privacy attitudes and behaviors. Specifically, the visual cues were divided into two categories: privacy-enhancing and privacy-deteriorating. This review discusses the applicability of such cues in research and UI design. Further, the findings are discussed against the existing research on digital nudges. The authors conclude with a discussion on issues of research quality in the privacy-related field and outline the road to improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21236-21260
Number of pages25
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological Effects and Their Role in Online Privacy Interactions: A Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this