Mariavittoria Masotina

Ritratto MariaVittoria Masotina

Neuroscience, Technology, and Society, XXXV series
Grant sponsor


Anna Spagnolli

GianAntonio Susto

Project description
My project aims at increasing the transparency of the security information and advice given through digital and automated systems, starting from the study of the human to human communication. In fact, even though the national and international legislation underlines the need for transparency to allow the users to be informed when giving their data or when relying on automated systems, the users seem not to be aware of the risks involved during their decision making. Most people do not read the informative about the systems they are using and often do not comprehend its meaning. Furthermore, the mere presence of an informative can reassure the users regardless of its contents. Asymmetric communication, cognitive scarcity, and the intangibility of the consequences make the employment of mental shortcuts (i.e. heuristics and biases) more likely to occur. So, within this framework, people tend to base their decisions on contextual clues rather than on a structured form of reasoning, even though the consequences can be dangerous for themselves and for the context they are placed in. Indeed, the implications can possibly result in financial losses, sensitive data diffusion, damages to the reputation and physical safety issues. Consequently, transparency needs to be user-centered: merely providing some information is an easy but ineffective way of making a system transparent to the user. Information needs to be meaningful and actionable, not just present. For these reasons, my project will consider the communication of security information, following two research lines. The first one will be focused on the notification about privacy risks and the second one on the notification about the system choices in assisted driving, with attention to the take-over request. Both the research lines will be set on the information/advice-giving and will employ quantitative and qualitative methods. In particular, Conversational Analysis (CA) will be applied within the methodological choices: CA emphasises the core role of the physical and social conditions in which the interactions are shaped, of the action sequentiality, of the role of the advisor, of the communication context, and of the severity and imminence of the potential danger in shaping effective face-to-face advice. Exploiting the pragmatics of this framework, the studies included in both the research lines will find ways to contextualize transparency starting with the observation of similar information exchanges (i.e. advice or communicating intention) taking place in human-to-human communication.