In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.
That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.
Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic according to a new psychology paper.
reply to post by flammadraco
It doesn't matter. Trolls are a good example as to whether people actually have freedom of speech. Besides that, trolls are a great way for people to learn. Trolls say incorrect things on purpose to get people made, but if a person (like me) actually debates the trolls, then all of the other people looking in who had questions will actually learn something.
edit on 15-2-2014 by arpgme because: (no reason given)
It was sadism, however, that had the most robust associations with trolling of any of the personality measures, including those of the Big Five. In fact, the associations between sadism and GAIT scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists (Buckels et al., 2013). Note that the Dark Tetrad
associations were specific to trolling. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism.
reply to post by ColeYounger
And those are their good points!
You seem to feel that you know quite a bit about us. Kindly tell me more.
Trolls usually look only at evidence that backs their desired interest.
They discount anything that they feel does not apply.
Problem is they spread a lot of narrow minded information that deflects people in to the wrong direction.
One of their tactics is "show me the evidence" when in fact the intent of the thread is to investigate something that is new.
Scientists trying to make new discoveries would decide to work at McD's if they were forced to face trolls in their workplace.