February 15, 2014
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 problems, the longer the person spent online.
They found the most common trait was to exhibit sadistic behaviour.
To identify the trolls, researchers even developed a simple online test.
‘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.