According to recently published reports, reports of trolling is, according to the researchers (Buckels et al., 2014), the “practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet with no apparent instrumental purpose.” People who troll like to post comments to websites or communities online that cause trouble, insult others, and cause general mayhem, just for the sheer pleasure of seeing what happens when they do so.
The researchers coined their own term for four of the personality variables they studied, which they call the Dark Tetrad of personality: Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and sadism. Machiavellianism is a willingness to manipulate and deceive others, while psychopathy is not having any remorse or empathy for others. The researchers thought everyday sadism would be most conducive to trolling behavior online.
Published on Feb 16, 2014
“The YouTube comment section is known as a special circle of hell—and that might be because the people leaving provocative comments are literally sadists and psychopaths, a new study titled “Trolls just want to have fun” has discovered.
Canadian psychologists Erin Buckels, Paul Trapnell, and Delroy Paulhus set up a survey of personality inventories matched with “Internet commenting styles”—in other words, they attempted to psychoanalyze commenters, which should be cause for a Nobel prize (and hazard pay) in itself. What came from the study will likely surprise no one: people who like to troll are also likely to show signs of “sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.”
Those three character flaws make up the ominous “Dark Tetrad of personality.””* The Young Turks hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down.
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