Trust and Mistrust of Online Information: What Influences the Younger Generation?

This 12 month funded research grant explores young adults’ attitudes towards information, advice and support found on the internet internet to further develop a staged model of trust. The model will help us understand what factors influence, persuade and predict belief and intention to act on the information. Specifically we seek to (a) document where  young adults  go for the ‘truth’ about their world; (b) model how young adults  determine whether to trust web information; and (c) understand how the social internet  influences opinion formation in young adults.

The methods and approaches used in this project have been successfully applied to other ESRC grants held by Little and Sillence, for example: The use of focus groups has been used extensively within an ambient intelligence and e-health context to examine both general and specific attitudes towards future technology and health websites. Relevant grants: ESRC ‘Bodies Online’. Relevant and Privacy, Trust and Identity Permissions for Ambient Intelligence.

Author: James Nicholson

James is a Lecturer in the School of Computer and Information Sciences. James is interested in many aspects of cybersecurity and privacy, including usable security, social engineering, lay users’ understanding of cybersecurity, multifactor authentication, everyday surveillance, and inclusive cybersecurity. Previously, James was a senior researcher in PaCT Lab working on the Cybersecurity Across the Lifespan (cSALSA) project. The project explores how cyber-security is understood, and the attitudes and behaviours of people to cyber-security and risk. During his time in PaCT Lab, James also worked on Choice Architecture for Information Security (ChAISe), Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC), and the Horizon 2020 project CYBECO. Prior to PaCT Lab, James worked at Open Lab, Newcastle University on the TEDDI and SiDE projects. James’ work has focused on improving user authentication, both by repurposing existing graphical authentication systems and by evaluating novel ones. He is also interested in user privacy and how groups of users (children, parents, older adults) experience location tracking technologies, as well as how CCTV video can be crowdsourced to de-centralise the surveillance landscape. More recently, he has developed tools and methodologies for uncovering and understanding employees’ mental models of security threats with the aim of improving training programmes and/or organisational policies, as well as practical means for improving users’ protection against these security threats (e.g. phishing). James obtained his BSc (Information Systems) from Newcastle University in 2008, and his MRes Psychology from Northumbria University in 2009. James’ PhD work – completed in 2012 – explored user authentication in the context of older adults under the supervision of Professor Lynne Coventry and Professor Pam Briggs.