Mental Models for Usable Privacy: A Position Paper

  • Kovila P. L. Coopamootoo
  • Thomas Groß
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8533)


In this position paper, we propose a new approach to privacy decision-making that relies on conceptual representations of mental models. We suggest that helping users to construct mental models of privacy will facilitate privacy decisions and hence contribute towards usable privacy. We advance that usable privacy research will benefit from qualitative and quantitative user studies that first elicit users’ mental models of privacy and second aim to build a composite model of the concept maps of users’ mental models. The links between the concept maps and deductive and inductive reasoning, and System 1 and 2 of the dual-process theory, are thought to potentially provide valuable insights for future usable privacy research. We also propose that the composite model might provide routes to privacy decisions and enable us to develop strategies akin to nudges aimed towards facilitating privacy behaviour.


Usable privacy mental models dual-process System 1 System 2 deductive inductive privacy decision-making 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kovila P. L. Coopamootoo
    • 1
  • Thomas Groß
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computing ScienceNewcastle UniversityUK

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