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Study: Internet Trolls Are As Narcissistic As Newspaper Columnists

by | 22nd, September 2014

HOW about that online debate?

In this month’s issue of Personality and Individual Differences a study was published that confirms what we all suspected: internet trolls are horrible people.

Aren’t they just saying things online?

Let’s start by getting our definitions straight. An internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response.

What kind of person would do this?

Someone bored?

Canadian researchers decided to find out. They conducted two internet studies with over 1,200 people. They gave personality tests to each subject along with a survey about their internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the Dark Tetrad of personality: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadistic personality. They found that Dark Tetrad scores were highest among people who said trolling was their favorite internet activity…

The relationship between this Dark Tetrad and trolling is so significant, that the authors write the following in their paper:

“… the associations between sadism and GAIT (Global Assessment of Internet Trolling) scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists.”

What to do?

…the best thing you can do is ignore them.

But what if like the attention? What then?

 



Posted: 22nd, September 2014 | In: News, Technology Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink