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Internet trolls have dark triad personality types

September 23, 2014

We all know what internet trolls are. They join discussions and post comments designed to upset people or generally disrupt the conversation. They lie, exaggerate, distort and intentionally misunderstand what others say in order to get a response.

They often don’t really care about the topic and will even take whatever side of the argument they feel will be the most controversial. It’s not about winning the argument – for them it’s all a game. They love to upset others.

New research confirms what we already know. These are sick and nasty sadistic people that actually enjoy making others feel bad.

Canadian researches have conducted internet studies of over 1,200 people examining their online activity including commenting. They were given personality tests to determine if there was a link between internet trolling and the Dark Triad of personality: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

They discovered that Dark Triad scores were much higher in those that said trolling was one of the favorite online activities.

internet trolls and dark triad scores

You can see in the above diagram that the Dark Triad scores are very high among the trolling group. So high in fact that the report concluded there is a direct correlation between trolls and Dark Triad personality types.

“… the associations between sadism and GAIT (Global Assessment of Internet Trolling) scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists.”

Some trolls confine themselves to harassing people on specific platforms while others take it further and start to pursue their target wherever they can find them online. The underlying personality type or should I say disorder are much the same between a troll and a cyber stalker / cyber bully.

Their objective is to find someone that will engage with them. Someone that will play their game. They set the rules of the game and the rules are not obvious to their victims. They will also change the rules anytime they – in other words it’s a game you cannot win.


Filed in: General

About the Author:

Christopher is an IT specialist with 30 years of experience in developing technology working with corporates and SME’s. Chris is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, as well as numerous certificate based qualifications in technology and application development. Christopher is the CEO of internetSOS - A project to help people learn how to protect themselves online.

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