Online and Physical Privacy Linked (04-30-21)

Anyone who’s puzzled over similarities and differences between online and physical privacy issues will be intrigued by research done by Shariff and colleagues.  This team reports that “Although people report grave concern over their data privacy, they take little care to protect it. We suggest that this privacy paradox can be understood in part as the consequence of an evolutionary mismatch: Privacy intuitions evolved in an environment that was radically different from the one found online. This evolved privacy psychology leaves people disconnected from the consequence of online privacy threats. . . . Human privacy intuitions emerged in an ancestral environment that differed radically from the digital environment in which those intuitions are now being tested. . . . . In this current environment, online interfaces befuddle intuitions that have otherwise allowed people to adaptively decide what to share, how much, and with whom.”  The interesting points made by the Shariff team, linking primordial and current privacy concepts, are available, without charge, in the article at the web address noted below.

Azim Shariff, Joe Green, and William Jettinghoff.  “The Privacy Mismatch:  Evolved Intuitions in a Digital World.”  Current Directions in Psychological Science, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721421990355