Study: Internet Trolls are Horrible People – narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic

The Secular Jurist

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 topics.

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).

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/02/internet_troll_personality_study_machiavellianism_narcissism_psychopathy.html

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10 Responses to Study: Internet Trolls are Horrible People – narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic

  1. Definitely see plenty of sadistic psychopath trolls on twitter. they’re the ones w/criminal records & anti-social characteristics, like zimmerman, posting the pics of dead black boys all over the web. its as if they have no sense of humanity, much less home training!
    i’ve often wondered if ppl like peircy come from an alcoholic mother or something. maybe he’s chemically imbalanced.

    vicki is a serious loser but she might not be able to help it. maybe her father abandoned her as a child or beat her or molested her & that’s why she’s so obsessed with men like zimmerman. she feels familiar to him. she’s obsessed with Crump & Shawn King bcuz she sees them picking on her object of desire, zimmerman, and it makes her feel like a victim of helpless ignorance because she can’t save him.

    • Xena says:

      Hey Shannon.
      Based on experience with Piercy and Pate that goes back to 2012, their problem is believing in racial superiority. Here in America, they are free to express those ideologies, but what they cannot do legally is violate the civil rights of others by using extortion methods to interfere in their associations with others and run them out of town, so to speak. Or, in their words “destroy” those they disagree with.

    • Xena says:

      There must be a psychological term for people who like looking at photos of dead bodies, and maybe another psychological term for people who like looking at the photo of a human being that is dead because they killed them. People kill animals and place their heads on the wall as trophies. When Zimmerman retweeted the photo of Trayvon’s dead body, it was as if he was admiring his trophy.

      • he’s been doing this from the moment he set off on that road trip w/samantha to the gun manufacturer to order that shot gun made. the audacity.

        • Xena says:

          Shellie said that George felt more “emboldened” after the verdict. The only thing that helped restrain him publicly is that the DOJ still had their investigation open. Since they announced not charging him, he has unzipped and exposed himself all the way.

  2. I was absolutely appalled and dismayed at Zimmerman’s posts on Twitter this week. I don’t follow the man but happened to catch the thread off of NavyDad’s string.

    • Xena says:

      Hey Katrinanation. After the shock that Zimmerman would advocate discrimination against Muslims regarding the gun shop, and use the confederate flag in that matter, I saw his tweets as an extension and exposure of his bigotry. He’s proud of what he believes, and that would be fine if he was not degrading and hurting others — but he does.

      • I have peeked at his twitter the past few days. I am absolutely sickened. I can’t believe how this guy has totally forsaken all semblance of decency and sensitivity over the life of the young man he took. Just mortified.

  3. Two sides to a story says:

    I’m surprised the university psychology folks didn’t mention that malignant narcissists embody the other two traits of the tetrad naturally. Narcissism isn’t just about ego – It’s a package deal for sure. They are chronic liars and if they don’t get their way, they’ll use any subterfuge possible to manipulate. It’s actually a good thing that Mr. Z exposed himself in writing – tick tock.

    • Xena says:

      Two sides,
      There are times when I get lost in psychology definitions and descriptions. 🙂 What the article refers to as “internet trolls” and what I’ve experienced with their persistence and lies, certainly falls into what you describe.

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