Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Human Factors Psychology

Committee Director

Jing Chen

Committee Member

Jeremiah Still

Committee Member

Abby Braitman


The current study examined the effects of security system framing, time pressure, and brand familiarity on mobile application download behaviors, with an emphasis on risk taking. According to the Prospect Theory, people tend to engage in irrational decision making, and make qualitatively different decisions when information is framed in terms of gains and losses (i.e., the framing effect). Past research has used this framing effect to guide the design of a risk display for mobile applications (apps), with the purpose of communicating the potential risks and minimizing insecure app selections. Time pressure has been shown to influence the framing effect in both hypothetical choices in lab settings as well as with consumer purchases, and brand familiarity has been shown to affect consumers’ purchase behaviors. Neither factor has been studied in the context of risk communication for mobile app. The current study addressed this gap in the literature and examined the effects of time pressure and brand familiarity on the effectiveness of risk displays (framed as safety or risks) for mobile apps. Specifically, users’ choices were recorded as a measure of effective risk displays. The findings from this study indicated that users rely heavily on brand familiarity when downloading apps. We also showed that security scores, especially when framed as safety, were effective at guiding choice, though this advantage of safety framing was not present when users made decisions under time pressure. The implications from the study indicate that people implicitly trust brands they recognize, safety framed security can be helpful, and decision-making processes change under time pressure.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).