Delroy Paulhus studies the darker sides of human personalities. According to him Internet trolls score high on four psychological characteristics, the so-called dark tetrad traits:
– [Most importantly] Everyday sadism as tested by the “bug crushing machine” test: “a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals”. Paulhus comments on internet trolls: “They appear to be the internet version of everyday sadists because they spend time searching for people to hurt.”
– Narcicism, a characteristic of “the incredibly selfish and vain, who may lash out to protect their own sense of self-worth”
– Machiavellianism, a characteristic of “the coolly manipulative”
– Psychopathy: “callous insensitivity and immunity to the feelings of others”