In the 2002 release The Hacking of America, authors Schell, Dodge, and Moutsatsos detailed the psychological profile of hundreds of hackers surveyed and interviewed at the HOPE and DefCon hacker conventions. The authors noted that some of the popular myths about hackers—their lifestyles, their thoughts, and their behaviors—were well founded whereas others were not. For example, consistently with many literature reports, the authors found that hackers do tend to be a creative and cognitively flexible group.
Though many experts believe that hackers as a group are task-obsessed Type As (that is, coronary-prone at early ages), their study findings found that hackers tended to be more moderated Type Bs (that is, more self-healing in nature), with some “noise-in” and “noise-denying” Type C, or cancer-prone, traits. Moreover, although many experts believe that hackers are poor stress copers, the Schell-Dodge-Moutsatsos study found hackers to report little in the way of distress symptoms experienced in the short term. Thus, the book’s authors concluded, for the majority of hackers, their cognitive online activities, coupled with social networking of like-minded colleagues, seems to result in a self-healing life opportunity for hackers rather than in a disease-prone demise.
The authors found little in the way of other-destructiveness in the majority of hackers over age 30—which would have cast doubt on their employability as security professionals in industry.
Schell, B.H., Dodge, J.L., with S.S. Moutsatsos. The Hacking of America: Who’s Doing It, Why, and How. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002.