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Designing Next-Generation Security Warnings to Mitigate Social Media Misinformation

Researchers will develop a next-generation misinformation warning design through research on neuro information systems, behavioral cybersecurity, and digital media design principles. The goal is to mitigate the detrimental effects of social media  misinformation through innovative warning designs. 

Funded by the CCI Hub

Rationale and Background

As users become accustomed to standard alert messages, their attention fades, and they sometimes ignore or miss warnings. 

Researchers believe that devising a body of  polymorphic warning dialogues that incorporate constantly changing graphic designs to grasp the user’s attention can reduce belief in misinformation.

This proposal also seeks to fill the voids in the current literature on  cybersecurity, interface design, and disruptive digital media literacy. 


Researchers hope to design and evaluate misinformation mitigation solutions based on real-world social media platforms by conducting experiments to systematically evaluate the influence of  habituation on the effectiveness of polymorphic and static warnings. 

They’ll investigate the “ignore the  warning but remain vigilant” phenomenon, collecting data through the use of eye-tracking devices and neuro-based brain activity scanners (i.e., electroencephalogram or EEG). 

Researchers will use think-out-loud interviews to understand how users’ prior comprehension of warnings affect their judgment. They plan to infuse the new warning design with  artistic design principles, including balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity, and  movement.

Projected Outcomes

Researchers hope to:

  • Create opportunities to redesign courses shared among computer science, information systems, interactive design, and art majors at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 
  • Extend cybersecurity research by revealing a new behavioral manifestation  (informed reduced behavior). 
  • Investigate the extent to which a user believes the social media content shared by others.
  • Publish research papers in leading journals/conferences in cybersecurity and related fields.
  • Create effective misinformation mitigation solutions to help social media users with low media literacy. 
  • Develop educational and training materials/programs to enhance misinformation awareness  and media literacy. 
  • Exhibit art designs consisting of polymorphic warning dialogues, EEG imagery, videos of  how misinformation travels, and a montage of the detrimental effects of online  misinformation.  

The ultimate goal is to initiate a new research lab collaborating with peer institutes.