Virtual Library

Our research repositories present a collection of open-source resources that showcase research and analysis that has directly influenced our initiatives. Non-IST publications are copyrighted by external authors not affiliated with IST.

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Reports

To the Point of Failure: Identifying Failure Points for Crisis Communications Systems

Leah Walker, Alexa Wehsener

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Reports

Mapping the Ransomware Payment Ecosystem: A Comprehensive Visualization of the Process and Participants

Zoë Brammer

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Reports

Plan maestro de defensa contra los programas de secuestro

Grupo de Trabajo sobre Programas de Secuestro

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Reports

Cyber Incident Reporting Framework

Cyber Threat Alliance, Institute for Security and Technology

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Reports

Digital Tools, Cognition, and Democracy: A Review of the Literature

Zoë Brammer, Sage Miller, Leah Walker

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Reports

Reasoning: How digital technologies influence decision making and judgment

Stephanie Rodriguez

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Reports

Attention: How digital technologies influence what we notice, what we focus on, and how we learn

Stephanie Rodriguez

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We also welcome additional suggestions from readers, and will consider adding further resources as so much of our work has come through crowd-sourced collaboration already. If, for any chance you are an author whose work is listed here and you do not wish it to be listed in our repository, please, let us know.

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Virtual Event and Live Q&A with Mr. Nand Mulchandani, Acting Director of the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

Shortcutting Critical Thinking

Leah Walker and Zoë Brammer

SUMMARY

What effects do digital technologies have on critical thinking? The DCDI coalition and IST researchers came to five major conclusions:

  1. The scale, accuracy, and speed of digital technologies make them particularly effective at activating the very emotions that influence and undermine critical thinking. Not only do digital technologies have the ability to inflame those emotions, but they often are designed to do so, as those very emotions drive engagement, use, and consumer spending.
  2. Digital technologies are affecting the cognitive processes that comprise critical thinking, including memory, attention, and reasoning.
  3. Digital technologies make it easier for people to confirm their existing beliefs, with little incentive to go through the often arduous processes of thinking critically. The most prolific online spaces are designed to validate beliefs, rather than challenge them. This constant reinforcement, in turn, makes people more confident in and vocal about their beliefs.
  4. Overconfidence in beliefs makes people more vulnerable to disinformation and less likely to take in contrary arguments. 
  1. Compounding the problem, there is little financial incentive for tech companies to design products that encourage people to think critically, especially if that involves helping people slow down by building friction into systems optimized for speed.
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