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People in Leadership Positions May Sacrifice Privacy For Security

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People in leadership roles tend to be more decisive about guarding security, often at the expense of privacy.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that people randomly placed in charge of a project tend to become more concerned about security.

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Pennsylvania State University (PSU) researchers performed experiments examining how people with high-status job assignments assessed security and privacy and how impulsive or patient they were in making decisions.

The results showed that participants who were randomly placed in charge of a project tended to become more concerned with security.

In a follow-up experiment, those appointed as supervisors also exhibited a more patient, long-term approach to decision-making.

"Hopefully, by calling attention to these tendencies, decision-makers can rebalance their priorities on security and privacy," says PSU professor Jens Grossklags.

In the first experiment, the researchers randomly assigned 146 participants roles as either a supervisor or a worker to determine how those assignments changed the way leaders approached security or privacy during a task. Those appointed supervisors displayed a significant increase in their concern for security, while those who were assigned a worker-level status expressed higher concern for privacy.

The second experiment, consisting of 120 participants, examined whether patience correlated with high-status assignments. The researchers found the low-status workers were more impulsive, as they were willing to sacrifice 35 percent more to receive prize money now rather than later, while supervisors were more willing to wait, showing they would be more patient in making decisions with long-term consequences.

From Penn State News
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