Online Trolls Are Psychopaths And Sadists, Canadian Psychologists Claim


Canadian researchers have confirmedwhat most people suspected all along:that internet trolls are archetypalMachiavellian sadists.

TORONTO – Canadian researchers haveconfirmed what most people suspectedall along: that internet trolls are archetypalMachiavellian sadists.In a survey conducted by the group ofpsychologists, people who partake in socalledtrolling online showed signs ofsadism, psychopathy, and wereMachiavellian in their manipulation ofothers and their disregard for morality.The researchers defined online trolling as”the practice of behaving in a deceptive,destructive, or disruptive manner in asocial setting on the internet” for no purposeother than their pleasure.To achieve the results, the team askedinternet users about subjects includinghow much time they spend online, andwhether they comment on websites suchas YouTube.They were also given tests that measuredtheir responses against psychology’s”Dark Tetrad”: narcissism,Machiavellianism, psychopathy and asadistic personality.Questions also surrounded sadistic statementsincluding: ”I enjoy physically hurtingpeople,” “I enjoy making jokes at theexpense of others” and “I enjoy playingthe villain in games and torturing othercharacters.””It was sadism, however, that had themost robust associations with trolling ofany of the personality measures,” saidpsychologists from the University ofManitoba, University of Winnipeg andUniversity of British Columbia in an articlepublished in the ‘Personality andIndividual Differences’ journal.It went on to claim that trolls are “agentsof chaos” that exploit “hot-buttonissues” to inflame and exploit users’ emotions,”If an unfortunate person falls into theirtrap, trolling intensifies for further, mercilessamusement. This is why noviceInternet users are routinely admonished,’Do not feed the trolls!’,” the studywarned.The team concluded that those whoenjoyed trolling more than other activities,such debating and making friends,had tendencies in line with the psychological”Dark Tetrad”.Perhaps most worryingly, the psychologistsbased their conclusion on cybertrollingbeing an “Internet manifestationof everyday sadism,” rather than merelyon online phenomenon.It is thought the findings may contributetowards a trend of sites such as YouTubeand the Huffington Post requiring usersto comment using registered accountsrather than allowing anonymous posts.