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Culture+Cyber: Exploring the Relationship

Speaker: Char Sample
US Army Research Labs in Maryland

December 9, 2016 - 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Lally 102
Hosted By: Prof. Bulent Yener(x6907)


Distinguished social psychologist Geert Hofstede observed “This dominance of technology over culture is an illusion. The software of the machines may be globalized, but the software of the minds that use them is not.” The role of culture in the thought process is so prevalent, yet unstated, that many cultural beliefs and biases are accepted as truths. These cultural beliefs and biases are commonly infused into behavioral norms identifying behaviors that can be observed. While historically, these observations have taken place in the physical realm, this talk discusses the findings of cultural markers in the cyber realm.
Dr. Sample will discuss the results of evidence-based research performed in this past year while on fellowship at the University of Warwick and working at ARL. These studies mined the Zone-H archives contained over 10 million records of raw data allowing for research into behaviors, choices and motivations. By using Hofstede’s cultural framework to define culture along with some basic inferential statistics, specific digital identifiers were associated with cultural dimensions, allowing for more accurate modeling of cyber actors based on cultural values. The results supported Nisbett’s observation that people “think the way they do because of the nature of the societies they live in.”
The discussion centers on the six dimensions of culture, the values associated with each dimension and examples of those values in cyber space. The six cultural dimensions measure views on values of self-determination, collectivism, aggression, nurturing, uncertain outcomes, holism, instant gratification, and levels of societal openness. The behavioral traits that associate with the cultural values are behavioral traits that are consistent with cyber behaviors.


Dr. Char Sample is currently a visiting research fellow at the University of Warwick and is employed as a research fellow for ICF at the US Army Research Labs in Maryland. Dr. Sample has over 20 years of experience in the information security industry. Most recently Dr. Sample has been advancing the research into the role of national culture in cyber security events. Presently Dr. Sample is continuing research on modeling cyber behaviors by culture, other areas of research are information weaponization and complexity.

Last updated: December 2, 2016