By Doug Gross, CNN
updated 11:19 AM EST, Tue February 11, 2014 | Filed under: Web
(CNN) -- If you've ever complained that the trolls junking up online comment sections are a bunch of sadistic psychopaths, you might be onto something.
An online survey by a group of Canadian researchers suggests that Internet trolls are more likely than others to show signs of sadism, psychopathy and "Machiavellianism": a disregard for morality and tendency to manipulate or exploit others.
"It was sadism, however, that had the most robust associations with trolling of any of the personality measures," says an article by psychologists from the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and University of British Columbia. "In fact, the associations between sadism and ... scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists."
Sadism is a tendency to take pleasure in other people's pain or discomfort.