Are you a troll? You could be suffering from a mental disorder

The study highlights that trolling consists of antisocial behaviour displayed online with leads to negative psychological outcomes. Trolls generally have lower affective empathy when compared to people who aren’t trolls. The study also states that trolls appear to be master manipulators of both cyber-settings and their victim’s emotions

Are you a troll? You could be suffering from a mental disorder

As social media has become an integral part of our lives we have to face a certain number of pros and cons which come along with it. Most people who use social media extensively complain about the trolling they face. Celebrities, politicians, journalists, eminent personalities and a layperson who expresses their opinions often face abusive and threatening responses from online trolls.

A study published in Science Direct has decoded the psychology of people who are online trolls. The study states that trolls are more likely to be men who exhibit high levels of psychopathy and sadism.

This research was carried out by Natalie Sesta and Evita March from Federation University, Australia by analysing the response of trolls to a questionnaire.  The study highlights that trolling is an online antisocial behaviour with negative psychological outcomes. Trolls generally have lower affective empathy when compared to people who aren’t trolls. The study also states that trolls appear to be master manipulators of both cyber-settings and their victim’s emotions.

According to Dr Prakash Bhambure a Consultant Psychiatrist in Pune, people who indulge in online trolling can have antisocial personality disorder. “These people showcase antisocial behaviours online such as abuse and threat. It is a symptom of having an antisocial personality disorder. In addition, they know that their victim won’t know their real identity. Hence, they indulge in such behaviour,” Dr Prakash Bhambure said.

Many women with a strong opinion have faced extreme trolling by these cyber trolls which included rape threats as well.  “It is a part of a mental disorder. These trolls feel gain satisfaction by threatening and abusing others. Most importantly, there is no one to deter to them. They know that they cannot be identified and punished. So, they keep on doing it,” said Vasudha Deshpande, Clinical Psychologist.

According to experts, all online trolls may not have a mental disorder. These people might just be facing adjustment issues. “It doesn’t have to be a disorder. It could be that the anonymity makes a certain individual feel powerful. As its consequences are remote, mentally as well as physically, it is easier for people to ignore them.” said Mekhala Vadadkar, Consultant Psychologist.

  • Subramanian

    Looks like some sub-standard research conducted by some less known university. Before accepting any research you have check what was the hypothesis, sample size etc. According to my experience, these type of research are faulty as the research outcome is affected by ‘confirmation bias’.

    In this case, my basic concerns are :
    1) what was the sample size, are these samples from one city or multiple cities, how many of the participants already suffering from mental disorder
    2) how these researchers identified troll’s real identity and interview them ?
    3) what is the guarantee that these trolls took this questionnaire seriously and gave correct answers to questions ?
    4)how did researchers drew conclusion about mental health of trolls from these questions