"Sadistic Glee" is the Reason We Like Being Mean on the Internet

By Gary Cutlack on at

A group of researchers believes online "trolls" and real-world sadists have quite a lot in common, with today's anonymous online hatemongers getting satisfaction from causing other people to suffer in a similar fashion to proper sadists.

The findings are published in a paper titled Personality and Individual Differences that's been assembled by staff at two Canadian universities. They tested people's responses to various scenarios on the internet, asking numerous questions, and embedding a few secret questions in the test designed to root out the proper sadists.

Unsurprisingly, a higher proportion of the actual sadists also said they used the internet as a trouble-making forum, gaining "merciless amusement" from people who fall for their infuriating tactics. 5.6 per cent of the 418 people asked said trolling was their favourite thing about online comment forums, with these sickos also scoring higher for the key traits of exploitative personalities. [The Register]

Image credit: Angry computer user from Shutterstock