People who are hateful on social media are more likely to be psychopaths, study finds

People who are hateful on social media are more likely to be psychopaths, study finds

Online haters are more likely to have psychopathic traits, according to one study for the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

A team of researchers read through the online comments of ninety-four internet users about Polish athletes during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Forty-six of the internet users posted comments on Facebook that the study's authors deemed to be hateful. Around half of these people were women.

Examples of hateful comments included "she discredits our country" and "representing our country while being so ugly should be banned".

After a month the participants took part in a psychological survey which included the 'Dark Triad' questionnaire. This aims to seek out the personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

Of their findings, the study's authors wrote:

Results showed that high scores in Psychopathy subscale were significant predictors of posting hating comments online; high scores on the Envy Scale were marginally significant.

So being hateful online might mean you don't have much empathy with other people or that you're really just jealous.

Interestingly, there was no correlation between online hate and narcissism or a Machiavellian personality, where a person will do just about anything for their own interests.

Of course there were limits to the study beyond its relatively small sample size. As the authors point out, their study "reflects personal characteristics of only sports fans, and not the general population".

Analysing the psychology of online haters and trolls is still in its early stages. But it would appear that posting rants about people you don't known on Facebook is probably not a good thing.

H/T: IFL Science

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