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TheWrap.com, Published February 17 2014

Internet trolls likely to be jerks in real life, too, study shows

Hollywood media is no stranger to the vast amount of internet trolls that dominate social media and the web at large.

Well, if you ever wondered whether the jerk who left that mean YouTube comment on your favorite music video was a jerk in real life, you might have been on to something. Some new scientific evidence is in and it turns out many internet trolls act the same in real life.

According to a new study published by University of Manitoba researchers, internet trolls – people who commonly lurk on message boards and post offensive material to get a rise out of people – exhibit anti-social behavior in their offline settings as well.

The finding — authored by Erin Buckelsa, Paul Trapnellb and Delroy Paulhusc — revealed that those who trolled online also tended to have the “Dark Tetrad of personality” — featuring traits of “sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.”

The Canadian researchers defined trolling as the “practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet with no apparent instrumental purpose.”

The study concluded that “enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.”