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Purdue University
Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Assessing the Relationship between Hacking and Various Personality Traits

Principal Investigator: Marcus Rogers

Surveys indicate that there is an increasing risk of computer intrusion, computer crime and attacks on personal and business information. Computer criminality is a serious problem that affects individuals, businesses, and our nation’s security.  The current study has four specific aims. First, we explore whether deviant computer behavior is part of a larger syndrome of deviance. Much research has shown that non-computer-related delinquent/criminal activities, substance use, and early/risky sexual behavior are typically seen in the same individuals and can be considered part of a larger syndrome of deviance. Second, we examine whether the personality profiles of those committing deviant computer behaviors are similar to the profiles obtained from those who engage in more general deviance. Several meta-analyses have demonstrated that interpersonal antagonism (i.e., lack of empathy, oppositionality, grandiosity, and selfishness) and problems with impulse control are the most consistent personality correlates of a variety of antisocial and deviant behavior. Our third aim is to examine a potentially unique correlate of deviant computer behavior—Asperger’s syndrome. Within the past decade, questions are emerging regarding the possibility of there being a link between computer criminality and a disorder known as Asperger syndrome.  Finally, our fourth objective is to further validate certain psychometric instruments for use with the “hacker” sub-culture. Based on this project's preliminary data, the authors applied for a grant to conduct a cross-cultural comparison sample.

Personnel

Other PIs: Dr. Donald Lynam Dr. William Graziano

Students: Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar

Representative Publications

  • Seigfried-Spellar, K. & Rogers, M. (2010). Psychological Assessments and Attitudes toward Deviant Computer Behavior. American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting (Feb, Seattle, WA) – no proceedings.

Keywords: Asperger syndrome, hacking subculture, personality profiles