Neural Activity Related to Information Security Decision Making: Effects of Who Is Rewarded and When the Reward Is Received

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Chapter in a Book

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Breaches of information security resulting from cybercrime represents a significant threat to the security and well-being of individuals, corporations, and governments. Therefore, understanding the neurocognitive processes that lead individuals to violate information security policy represents a fundamental pursuit for NeuroIS researchers. In the current study, we examined the effects of whether an individual or a close associate benefited from a violation of information security, and the temporal delay before the benefit was received on event-related brain potentials (ERPs) related to ethical decision making. The electrophysiological data revealed modulations of the ERPs that were generally sensitive to ethical decision making, or that were specifically sensitive to the recipient or timing of the reward. The components that were sensitive to the two independent variables were observed over the anterior frontal region of the scalp, consistent with the neuroimaging literature demonstrating that several prefrontal structures participate in self-referent processing and intertemporal choice.