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See the insane thing your computer does to your brain

See the insane thing your computer does to your brain

One of the most important security features available in every modern browser is massively negated by one psychological trait: Habituation.

Simply put, habituation is how any repetitive task starts to matter less the more that we do it. Eventually, almost anyone that you meet will confess to not taking the time to read the terms and services agreement for anything that they buy.

In this instance, though, researchers looked into security warnings from your browser:

Users’ habituation to security warnings is pervasive, and is often attributed to users’ carelessness and inattention. However, we demonstrate that habituation is largely obligatory as a result of how the brain processes familiar visual stimuli. A chief implication of our results is that because habituation occurs unconsciously at the neurobiological level, interventions designed to encourage greater attention and vigilance on the part of users—such as SETA programs—are incomplete on their own. Our findings suggest that a complimentary solution is to develop UI designs that are less susceptible to habituation. We show that the polymorphic warning artifact developed in this study is one such effective design. Our results point to future research opportunities for security interventions that take into account the biology of the user.

Researchers are saying that browsers could account for habituation by changing up the look and button placement of security warnings.

See also: Insecure? You might use Facebook more

The extra time that your brain takes to process the new information could give your brain the time that it needs to understand that this isn't just another thing to click — it could actually harm your computer.

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