In yet another instance of science belatedly confirming what common sense has already told us, a new paper from researchers at three Canadian universities concludes that Internet trolls aren’t just mean — they’re sadists and psychopaths.
The paper, published last week in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, surveyed a group of several hundred on their Internet behaviors and personal traits. It found that trolling correlated with higher rates of sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, a certain lack of scruples when it comes to deceiving or manipulating other people.
“… it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists,” the paper rules.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been “trolled” online before. For those of you that have not, know first that you are living a blessed existence — and second, that online “trolls” are frequently anonymous people who provoke discord and discomfort online, often just because they can. (This Know Your Meme post sums the “subculture” up pretty well.)
My surprise, let me show you it.