Investigating cognitive processes that underlie privacy-related decisions, prior research has primarily adopted a "privacy calculus" view, indicating privacy-related decisions to constitute rational anticipations of risks and benefits connected to data disclosure. Referring to psychological limitations and heuristic thinking, however, recent research has discussed notions of bounded rationality in this context. Adopting this view, the current research argues that privacy decisions are guided by thinking styles, i.e. individual preferences to decide in an either rational or intuitive way. Results of a survey indicated that individuals high in rational thinking, as reflected by a high need for cognition, anticipated and weighed risk and benefits more thoroughly. In contrast, individuals relying on experiential thinking (as reflected by a high faith into intuition) overleaped rational considerations and relied on their hunches rather than a privacy calculus when assessing intentions to disclose information. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Kehr, Flavius; Kowatsch, Tobias; Wentzel, Daniel; and Fleisch, Elgar, "Thinking Styles and Privacy Decisions: Need for Cognition, Faith into Intuition, and the Privacy Calculus" (2015). Wirtschaftsinformatik Proceedings 2015. 72.