Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Online Trolls Are Psychopaths And Sadists, Psychologists Claim.

with 7 comments

A Gang Of British Trolls

A Gang Of British Trolls

Source: The Independent, 18th February 2014

Canadian researchers have confirmed what most people suspected all along: that internet trolls are archetypal Machiavellian sadists.

In a survey conducted by the group of psychologists, people who partake in so-called trolling online showed signs of sadism, psychopathy, and were Machiavellian in their manipulation of others and their disregard for morality.

The researchers defined online trolling as “the practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet” for no purpose other than their pleasure.

To achieve the results, the team asked internet users about subjects including how much time they spend online, and whether they comment on websites such as YouTube.

They were also given tests that measured their responses against psychology’s “Dark Tetrad”: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and a sadistic personality.

Questions also surrounded sadistic statements including: ”I enjoy physically hurting people,” “I enjoy making jokes at the expense of others” and “I enjoy playing the villain in games and torturing other characters.”

“It was sadism, however, that had the most robust associations with trolling of any of the personality measures,” said psychologists from the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and University of British Columbia in an article published in the ‘Personality and Individual Differences’ journal.

It went on to claim that trolls are “agents of chaos” that exploit “hot-button issues” to inflame and exploit users’ emotions,

“If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement. This is why novice Internet users are routinely admonished, ‘Do not feed the trolls!’,” the study warned.

The team concluded that those who enjoyed trolling more than other activities, such debating and making friends, had tendencies in line with the psychological “Dark Tetrad”.

Perhaps most worryingly, the psychologists based their conclusion on cyber-trolling being an “Internet manifestation of everyday sadism,” rather than merely on online phenomenon.

It is thought the findings may contribute towards a trend of sites such as YouTube and the Huffington Post requiring users to comment using registered accounts rather than allowing anonymous posts.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm

7 Responses

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  1. what a load of crap, these stories at the moment in the brittish media, are designed to undermine the democratic process which is going on in Scotland at the moment by the UK Government,
    Just like what we have been lied about with cannabis for the past 70yrs or so, the uk governments propaganda machine has been revved up to full throttle, to lie to the Scottish people, to deny them of there democratic right for a fair and balanced debate……THE WESTMINSTER GOVERNMENT MAKES ME SICK!!!


    February 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm

  2. Looks like your well written thoughtful article is upsetting some well know trolls here in the UK.

    keep up the good work, what goes around comes around as they say, very very good insightful article PR, keep up the good work!


    February 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    • Priceless!

      Peter Reynolds

      February 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm

  3. It has come to my attention that you have used one of my photographs without permission. I own this photograph and I did not grant you permission to use it on your blog; please remove it from your website immediately.

    Dale Beaumont-Smith

    Dale Beaumont-Smith

    February 20, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    • It would help if you would specify which photograph you refer to and why.

      Peter Reynolds

      February 21, 2014 at 6:42 pm

  4. so as I understand it; these individuals can use any photograph they like, say what they like, make any accusations they like, make vile disgusting allegations with no evidence or any foot in reality; but one person uses an article written by someone else to highlight the actions of individuals they decide this is a terrible injustice, you could not make it up…..also, I don’t give a **** how this makes me sound, stuart wyatt only seems to experience his medical conditions when he likes it to, that piece of writing on the wrong site is one of the most pathetic things I have ever read, what a sad, meaningless individual, funny how his illness never affected him when he was being a disgusting pathetic troll spewing sewage from his mouth.

    Andrew Cox

    February 22, 2014 at 2:32 pm

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