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  • Ah internet trolls - whether it’s on twitter, a forum, or even these very YouTube comments... ehem...

  • We can’t seem to escape them, but who are these people- and what do they look like when we evaluate them scientifically?

  • While many people do enjoy chatting and debating issues online, approximately 5.6% of individuals self-identify as trolls, or say they enjoy trolling online.

  • So, scientists decided to study a group of 1200 internet users to understand these trolls in particular, and found a myriad of something calleddark traits’. Specifically, online trolls were found to display high levels of psychopathy, narcissism, and most specifically, sadism; that is, people who enjoy the pain of others.

  • Now, most people tend to avoid inflicting pain on others, and if we do, we experience guilt or remorse.

  • But for sadists, cruelty can be exciting and pleasurable.

  • These people aren’t necessarily serial killers or bad people, but they get an emotional reward when causing or observing the suffering of others.

  • In fact, there’s even a category calledeveryday sadismthat highlights how sadistic traits are present in many people, not just sexual deviants or criminals.

  • For example, many of us enjoy a good fight during a sports game or the thrill of a violent movie, right?

  • If you were given the choice of the following four jobs, which would you choose?

  • a) Killing bugs b) helping an experimenter kill bugs c) cleaning dirty toilets or d) enduring pain from ice water?

  • Studies show that those who choose to kill bugs have higher scores on a scale measuring sadistic impulses.

  • But internet trolls show very high levels of sadism and have fun distressing others by being argumentative and disruptive.

  • Studies have also documented a link between these individuals and anti-social behaviour.

  • So, are these individuals different in real life?

  • Not likely - the studies suggest that these traits carry over into their regular day-to-day and reflect one’s actual personality.

  • But since the internet offers anonymity, antisocial individuals can connect with similar others while distancing themselves from their acts in terms of personal responsibility.

  • The unfortunate part is that trolls not only comment more but receive more replies than the average user, suggesting they are quite successful at luring others in.

  • On top of this, negative feedback only stimulates a harsher response from trolls, and their behaviour becomes worse over time with more feedback.

  • So, the next time youre being trolled, just remember, they WANT to disrupt you - and they feed off of your unhappiness.

  • Ignore them, and youre likely to diminish their effort.

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Ah internet trolls - whether it’s on twitter, a forum, or even these very YouTube comments... ehem...

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B1 US enjoy pain behaviour online people youtube

The Science of Internet Trolls

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    tetanus0610 posted on 2016/08/02
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