Survey examines motives for internet trolling

A study by BYU professors Pamela Brubaker and Scott Church found that individuals who exhibit the personality traits of the Dark Triad and enjoy the misery of others are more likely to take trolling behavior online. Credit: Jaren Wilkey / BYU Photo

As the use of social media and other online networking sites grows, so does trolling. This is an internet practice in which users deliberately try to lure other users into meaningless and sometimes non-citizen conversations.

A new BYU study recently published in the journal of the Social Media and Society sheds light on the motivations and personality traits of Internet trolls.

Through Online survey Completed by more than 400 Reddit users, the study found that Dark Triad’s personality traits (narcissism, machiavellianism, psychopathies) and Schadenfreude (German, meaning one person draws joy from the misery of another). It turns out that individuals with a combination of) are more likely to indicate more. Trolling Action.

“People who exhibit these characteristics, known as the Dark Triad, are more likely to exhibit trolling behavior if they derive their enjoyment from passively observing others suffering,” said BYU spokeswoman. Dr. Pamela Brubaker, a professor and co-author of the study, said. “They engage in trolling at the expense of others.”

The study, co-authored by BYU Communications Professor Dr. Scott Church and former BYU graduate Daniel Montes, found that individuals who were delighted by the mistakes and shortcomings of others believed that trolling was acceptable online. .. motion.. Women who participated in the study tended to consider trolling as dysfunctional, and men tended to consider it functional.

“This behavior can happen because it feels right for the medium,” Church said. “Therefore, heavy users of the platform may find all trolling to be” functional “just because it’s what people do when accessing Reddit. “

The Truth About Trolls: Psychology of Trolls on Reddit.Credit: Brigham Young University

It is important to note that researchers often consider trolling to be a form of communication that enriches trolling rather than hindering online deliberations, as those who own Schadenfreude. Stated. Because of this view, they don’t care how their words and actions affect people on the other side of the screen. For them, trolling is perceived as merely a means of dialogue, not as destructive.

“They are more interested in enhancing their own online experience than creating a positive online experience for those who do not receive the same type of fun and joy from such provocative discussions.” Bull Baker said.

However, there is still hope for productive online discussions. The study found no correlation between candid online speech and trolling behavior. According to the survey results, users who actively “speak” and express their opinions online are not necessarily engaged in trolling behavior. Such results are encouraging and suggest that citizens’ online discourse is achievable.

“When you go online, remember who you are,” Church said. “It’s helpful to think of others online as human beings, those who have family and friends like you and me, those who feel deeply and sometimes suffer. Forget your identity as a real person and instead just a username or Thinking of it as an avatar, it looks like this: It’s easier to engage in trolling. “

Brubaker proposes to work on online discourse with an open mind to understand different perspectives.

“Digital media empowers us to connect with people who have different ideas, interests and experiences similar to ourselves. When we connect with people online, even if the perspectives of others do not match ours. It may be. ” “Each of us has the power to influence good online. We can do this with mutual respect. We can nurture others and praise good online.”

New research shows that trolls not only enjoy hurting others, but also feel good about themselves.

For more information:
Pamela Jo Brubaker et al, The Power of Schadenfreude: Predicting Behaviors and Perceptions of Trolling Among Reddit Users, Social media + society (2021). DOI: 10.1177 / 20563051211021382

Quote: The survey is investigating the motives for Internet trolling (June 23, 2021) obtained from https: // on June 23, 2021. ..

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Survey examines motives for internet trolling

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