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

Exploiting Emotions

Leah Walker and Zoë Brammer

SUMMARY

Digital systems exploit and manipulate emotions by design. Emotions prompt people to use digital tools, engage with content, products, and services, respond to advertisements, stay on or return to digital platforms, and even take action offline as a result of online experience. The design of the digital environment, especially its visual nature, also heightens user emotions, often creating an addictive cycle. Because emotions affect how we process, engage with, and often act upon information, they play a central role in the relationship between digital tools and democracy.

The DCDI team’s research into the relationship between digital tools and emotions includes three key insights: 

  • Cognitive openings created as a result of difficult life events create a moment of vulnerability. When presented with something that feels like it could solve your emotional problem and give you a purpose, people are easily isolated and radicalized. 
  • In social networks, the processes of recognition and status negotiation are intertwined with emotions; the more someone likes/links to your posts, the higher you will be ranked and listed in news feeds. As Javier Serrano-Puche puts it, “Since sharing emotions is essential for creating and maintaining social ties, somehow the status of social networks revolves around the emotions and feelings that users express about themselves, but at the same time find resonance among their circle of contacts.”
  • Digital technologies are affecting the cognitive processes that interact with emotional responses, including memory, attention, and reasoning.
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