For internet "trolls", which dark tetrad trait do you think they display most when posting comments and/or things of a similar nature?

Posted by: PetersSmith

Look, the descriptions are just articles. I actually put them there because there were no descriptions for vicarious and direct sadism and it felt weird just including descriptions for three and articles for two.

3 Total Votes


You feel that internet "trolls" do not display any of the dark tetrad traits when posting comments or things of a similar nature. This means that you feel they display some other trait much more than any of the dark tetrad traits, or you feel that i... nternet "trolls" do not display distinctive traits   more
2 votes
1 comment


Online trolls have serious personality issues such as Machiavellianism, one of the biggest studies into trolling has found. Researchers say that online commenters display traits that are Narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic and the worse the pro... blems, the longer the person spent online. They found the most common trait was to exhibit sadistic behaviour. 'Respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles,' the team at the University of Manitoba said. Their research was, conducted by Erin Buckels and two colleagues. They define online trolling as 'the practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet with no apparent instrumental purpose.' The researchers say: 'Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures,' they said. They said the trolls displayed what is known as the 'Dark Tetrad' of personality in two tests developed. 'Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. 'Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. 'Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. 'Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.' Two tests were developed. One asked survey participants what they 'enjoyed doing most' when on online comment sites, offering five options: 'debating issues that are important to you,' 'chatting with others,' 'making new friends,' 'trolling others,' and 'other.' It found only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually enjoyed 'trolling.' 'Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,' the team wrote. 'Sadists just want to have fun ... And the Internet is their playground!   more
1 vote
1 comment


Machiavellianism is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct", deriving from the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote Il Principe, amo... ng other works. The word has a similar use in modern psychology where it describes one of the dark triad personalities, characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal style associated with cynical beliefs and pragmatic morality. "Machiavellian" as a word became very popular in the late 16th century in English, though "Machiavellianism" itself is first cited by the Oxford English Dictionary from 1626   more
0 votes

Direct Sadism

Internet "trolls" — people who intentionally incite discord in online communities — may have a lot in common with real-life sadists, new research suggests. In two studies conducted online, researchers examined personality traits and the online comm... enting styles of 1,215 people. The investigators found that Internet trolls tended to have personality traits related to sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – a term used by psychologists to describe a person's tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. The link between trolling and sadism was the strongest out of all three traits, the researchers said. So what could explain the links between trolling and sadism? Simply put, some people seem to enjoy being argumentative and purposefully disruptive, according to the researchers. [Understanding the 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors] "Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others," the researchers, from the University of Manitoba in Canada, wrote in the study. "Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!" "In real life, some people are destructive and deceptive," said Michelle Drouin, an associate professor at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), who was not involved in the study. "This study, like others that are emerging lately, provides another perspective on the ways in which people's real lives and selves are crossing virtual boundaries." Unfortunately, in some cases this behavior may become sadistic, and some people may want to cause pain or discomfort to others, Drouin told Live Science. To conduct the first study, the researchers recruited 418 people, with an average age of 29, to complete survey questions online. One of the measures of sadistic personality used in the study was the so-called Short Sadistic Impulse Scale, which includes 10 items that assess a person's tendency to enjoy hurting others. For example, one of the statements presented is, "Hurting people is exciting." The study participants were asked to rate each item on five-point scales from one to five (with "one" meaning to strongly disagree and "five" meaning to strongly agree). In the first study, the researchers also used the so-called Varieties of Sadistic Tendencies scale, which includes six items aimed at assessing direct sadism, such as identifying with the phrase, "I enjoy hurting people," and seven items to assess what's known as vicarious sadism. People who are vicariously sadistic may enjoy seeing cruelty in movies or video games. One of the ways used to assess this form of sadism was asking whether the people in the study identified with the following phrase: "In video games, I like the realistic blood spurts." The participants rated the various items on a seven-point scale from 1 (not at all) to 7 (very much). The researchers also assessed the participants' Internet behavior patterns by asking them about their preferred activities while commenting online. Some of the choices included "chatting with other users," "making new friends" and "trolling other users." In the second study, the researchers constructed another trolling measure that they called the Global Assessment of Internet Trolling (GAIT) scale. They used this tool to assess people's trolling behavior and levels of enjoyment. They also asked people in the study how much time they typically spent online. The investigators found a link between online commenting frequency and the enjoyment of trolling, which is consistent with previous research that has established an association between excessive use of technology and antisocial behavior. The study did not find a relationship between sadism and other harmless online activities, such as chatting and debating. And, unlike sadists, narcissists in the study did not appear to enjoy online trolling. Drouin said that "the Internet presents unique opportunities for anonymity, so people can distance themselves from their acts in terms of personal responsibility. "Thus, the Internet may, as the authors suggest, be a sadist’s playground," she added   more
0 votes

Vicarious Sadism

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 psyc... hologists 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.” Sadism means delighting in the harm of others, psychopathy is an antisocial personality disorder, and Machiavellianism means a person’s tendency to be unemotional and deceitful. Trolls seem to have all three on lock. Of course, it might just be that the Internet has a tendency to turn people into sadists as a result of its anonymity. This was enshrined by the “online disinhibition effect” that leads us to treat other people online as less than human. (It’s also known by a less scientific name.) If we can’t see their faces, they’re not real, right? Not all commenters are psychopaths, however. Thankfully the study concludes, “Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism.   more
0 votes


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 o... f 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   more
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