Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues conducted research to find out whether people who engage in internet 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
- Sadism — pleasure in the suffering of others
The researchers conducted multiple studies, using a variety of methods and found that, although there were correlations between trolls and each of the Dark Tetrad, the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest. Indeed, sadists appear to troll because it gives them pleasure.
“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” the authors wrote. “Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”
Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People, from Slate.com.
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