Saturday, February 15, 2014

Trolls Are People Too

Horrible, horrible people.

From Slate:
Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People

Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.

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 topic

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).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.


steeve said...

Weird. I comment a nonzero amount of time, putting me in the top 1%. And the only Dark Tetrad trait I have is narcissism, which I've dialed up to 1000%.

Monster from the Id said...

OK, that is scary.

Maybe I should give up Web commenting, at least on the politics-and-current-events type of blogs, before my Webname becomes all too descriptive.