In Awards and Achievements, Faculty and Staff, School of Communications

As social media and other online networking sites have grown in usage, so too has trolling – an internet practice in which users intentionally seek to draw others into pointless and, at times, uncivil conversations.

New BYU research recently published in the journal of Social Media and Society sheds light on the motives and personality characteristics of internet trolls.

Through an online survey completed by over 400 Reddit users, the study found that individuals with dark triad personality traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) combined with schadenfreude – a German word meaning that one derives pleasure from another’s misfortune – were more likely to demonstrate trolling behaviors.

“People who exhibit those traits known as the dark triad are more likely to demonstrate trolling behaviors if they derive enjoyment from passively observing others suffer,” said Dr. Pamela Brubaker, BYU public relations professor and co-author of the study. “They engage in trolling at the expense of others.”

You can read the full article by Brenna Seeman here.

Truths about trolls: the psychology of trolling on Reddit
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