Internet Trolls Score High on Narcissism, Sadism, and Psychopathy

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place where all the narcissists, sadists, and psychopaths of the world could gather and bond? Well, there is. It’s the internet.

A new study published in Personality and Individual Differences sought to examine the personalities of internet users, including self-identified non-commenters, people who like debating issues, people who like chatting, and people who like trolling. Trolls are actually a pretty small group, in that only 5.6% of respondents identified themselves as such (and a full 41.3% identified as non-commenters). However, they scored very high for the so-called Dark Tetrad of traits, including Machiavellianism (delighting in deception), narcissism (self-obsession), psychopathy (lack of remorse or empathy), and sadism (enjoying the suffering of others). How high? Well, here’s a graph from the study:

E.E. Buckels et al, "Trolls just want to have fun," Personality

Of course, if you’ve ever read a comments section, these results seem pretty evident (we have our very own troll devoted to polluting the comments on our Hacher and Krain article), but what isn’t evident is what you can do about it. Except disable all comments and just move on with your life.

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