Academics Study 'The Psychology Of The Internet Troll.'
What makes an internet troll tick? It's a question that many people have answered 'off the cuff;' but never in an academic sense. That is until now, as Academic Earth illustrates how anonymity is key in giving them a sense of 'online disinhibition.'
"We all behave differently when alone," Academic Earth writes. "Anonymity frees us from a perceived obligation to act in accordance with certain social norms." The removal of fear of judgement in a group has been well documented by psychologists, well before the widespread existence of the internet.
Referring to a study conducted by Leon Mann in 1981, in which he studied 21 suicide attempts, 10 of which victims were jeered and baited to "jump!" What's clear is a set of watchful eyes keep us in check, whereas the distracted eyes of many lead us to disregard from social convention.
This same disinhibition effect has become more apparent over the 20 years we have been an internet-connected planet. The anonymity granted to us on the web plays out to a standard troll nuisance (take the Youtube comment section for example); but has also led to some more dangerous behaviour (Violentacrez, responsible for subreddits like r/rapebait, r/incest and r/jailbait for instance).
So what causes an internet troll to drop all social inhibitions that would be found in a face-to-face conversation? Take a look below.