Neural Correlates of Decision Making Related to Information Security: Self-Control and Moral Potency

West R, Budde E, Hu Q (2019) Neural correlates of decision making related to information security: Self-control and moral potency. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0221808. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0221808

Baruch College Zicklin School of Business Research Paper No. 2019-09-04

21 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2019 Last revised: 24 Sep 2019

See all articles by Robert West

Robert West

Depauw University

Emily Budde

University of Dayton

Qing Hu

Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College - The City University of New York

Date Written: September 13, 2019

Abstract

Security breaches of digital information represent a significant threat to the wellbeing of individuals, corporations, and governments in the digital era. Roughly 50% of breaches of information security result from the actions of individuals inside organizations (i.e., insider threat), and some evidence indicates that common deterrence programs may not lessen the insiders’ intention to violate information security. This had led researchers to investigate contextual and individual difference variables that influence the intention to violate information security policies. The current research builds upon previous studies and explores the relationship between individual differences in self-control and moral potency and the neural correlates of decision making in the context of information security. The behavioral data revealed that individuals were sensitive to the severity of a violation of information security, and that the measures of self-control and moral potency were reliable indicators of the underlying constructs. The ERP data provided a partial replication of previous research, revealing differences in neural activity for scenarios describing security violations relative to control stimuli over the occipital, medial and lateral frontal, and central regions of the scalp. Brain-behavior analyses showed that higher moral potency was associated with a decrease in neural activity, while higher self-control was associated with an increase in neural activity; and that moral potency and self-control tended to have independent influences on neural recruitment related to considering violations of information security. These findings lead to the suggestion that enhancing moral potency and self-control could represent independent pathways to guarding against insider threat.

Keywords: Information Security, Neuroscience, Decision Making, Event Related Potential, Self-Control, Moral Potency

JEL Classification: M15

Suggested Citation

West, Robert and Budde, Emily and Hu, Qing, Neural Correlates of Decision Making Related to Information Security: Self-Control and Moral Potency (September 13, 2019). West R, Budde E, Hu Q (2019) Neural correlates of decision making related to information security: Self-control and moral potency. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0221808. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0221808; Baruch College Zicklin School of Business Research Paper No. 2019-09-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3453474

Robert West (Contact Author)

Depauw University ( email )

Greencastle, IN 46135
United States

Emily Budde

University of Dayton ( email )

300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469
United States

Qing Hu

Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College - The City University of New York ( email )

55 Lexington Ave
P. O. Box B13-276
New York, NY 10011
United States
646-312-3049 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/faculty-profile/qing-hu/

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