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Actors and Behaviour in Cyberspace


Admission requirements

Admission only after intake, please see [our website]:


‘Actors and behaviour in cyberspace’ draws on insights from the behavioural analysis literature focusing on the activities and interactions of individuals, corporations, States and algorithms in cyberspace. The course starts by introducing the students to rational choice theory in order to delineate self-interest focused behaviour as a benchmark representing rational choices. The students are then introduced to the information asymmetry concept. Actors are usually under the impression that they make informed choices, however this might not be always the case, especially in complex domains like cyberspace. For example, when it comes to giving consent to be subject to automated-decision making, the individual is significantly less informed about the consequences of the respective consent. When it comes to how corporations act in cyberspace, it is important to identify corporations as profit maximizing entities. This would mean a corporation’s rational choice regarding its behaviour in cyberspace would be influenced by their competitors’ behaviour.
To better understand how corporations influence each other’s behaviour, the students will be introduced to game theory concepts including simultaneous and sequential games, as well as coordination games.
The course will continue by focusing on State behaviour in cyberspace. We will analyse how e.g. coordination games can also exist between States and how information can be obtained via the game-theoretic approach that can prove relevant for the subject of cybersecurity regulation. We will also touch upon how open government strategies could affect State behaviour. We will use examples from how big data analytics might be abused, e.g. through State action.
In the last session, we will focus on how artificial intelligence and machine learning based algorithms can influence the behaviour of individuals, corporations and States.

Course objectives

Participants will have:

  • basic knowledge and understanding of the root causes of information asymmetry and how it affects behaviour of actors in cyberspace

  • basic knowledge and understanding of the contributions made by the behavioural sciences (with a special focus on behavioural economics and game theory) in analysing and evaluating the role of behaviour and agency in cyberspace

  • basic knowledge and understanding of the human behaviour, corporation behaviour, State behaviour and the algorithm behaviour in cyberspace

  • insight into discourse concerning rational choice theory, choice architecture, coordination games, economic incentives and automated-decision making


4 days from 9.30 until 17.00
Friday April 16, 2021
Friday April 23, 2021
Friday April 30, 2021
Friday May 21, 2021

Friday May 28, 2021 exam date

Mode of Instruction

Lectures, seminars, exercises, class discussion

Lecturers: Dr. Elif Kiesow Cortez

Assessment method

The grade of this assignment is composed of four elements:

a. problem identification using one of the theories in the course (10%)

b. case analysis or short paper focusing on the selected problem (50%)

c. presentation 1 (10%)

d. presentation 2 (30%)

Only assessments with the weight of 30% and lower are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs 30% or less in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments weighing up to and including 30% cannot be re-taken, meaning that if one failed an assessment of 30% or less one is not allowed to redo it and that assessment must be compensated by the other assessment(s).

The re-sit will take the same form.

Reading list

Compulsory literature and literature for further consultation will be announced via Brighstpace


No registration is required for lectures and exams.


Chantal de Groot, study coordinator Dr. Elif Kiesow Cortez


For more information see the website see our website