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What is the temperament of an Internet troll?

New article in Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace!

 
What is the relationship between Internet trolling, Dark Triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism), and the Behavioral Inhibistion/Approach Systems?
 
Results recently published in Cyberpsychology (IF=2.905) suggest that there is! It turns out that Internet trolling is characterised by higher BAS and lower BIS activity; moreover, this relationship was mediated by the trait of psychopathy. This research was carried out by members of the Political Cognition Lab (Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Science): Zuzanna Molenda, dr Marta Marchlewska, dr Marta Rogoza. and Dagmara Szczepańska (IFiS APS), in collaboration with dr Paulina Górska (Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw), Piotr Michalski and prof. Aleksandrą Cisłak (SWPS Univeristy).
 
Abstract:
Internet trolling is a provocative or offensive online behavior linked to engaging in anonymous activities that evoke negative feelings in other people. We analyzed the relationships between Internet trolling, Dark Triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism), and the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS)/Behavioral Approach System (BAS) in two studies. Study 1 involved a national quota sample representative of Polish young adults (N = 1,048, aged 18–25), and Study 2 involved a national quota sample of adult Poles (N = 432, aged 18–84). In both studies, we hypothesized and found that Internet trolling is predicted by low BIS and high BAS and that these relationships are mediated by high levels of psychopathy. These findings suggest that the basic temperamental dispositions may predispose individuals to irritate others on the Internet for one’s own enjoyment due to high (vs. low) levels of psychopathy. We discuss the role of temperamental and personality traits in shaping offensive online behavior.