Exploring cybersecurity-related emotions and finding that they are challenging to measure

Karen Renaud, Verena Zimmermann, Tim Shüermann, Carlos Böehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on a three-part investigation into people's perceptions of cybersecurity, based on their lived experiences. We sought thereby to reveal issues located within the Johari grid’s "Blind Spot" quadrant. We utilised research methodologies from both the Arts and Science in order firstly to identify blind spot issues, and secondly to explore their dimensions. Our investigation confirmed a number of aspects that we were indeed aware of, when it came to people's lived cybersecurity experiences. We also identified one particular blind spot issue: widespread, but not universal, negativity towards cybersecurity. We then carried out an investigation using a recognised methodology from psychology, as a first attempt to assess the nature of this negativity and to get a sense of its roots. What our initial experiment revealed was that scoping cybersecurity-related emotions is nontrivial and will require the formulation of new measurement tools. We conclude by reporting on the challenges, to inform researchers who plan to extend the research reported in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
Number of pages17
Journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2021


  • cybersecurity
  • perceptions
  • Johari grid
  • blind spot
  • negativity
  • internet connected devices

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