There may be more sadists lurking in our midst than we'd like to think, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Texas at El Paso. After offering a group of college students the chance to play exterminator and kill live bugs, researchers found "acts of apparent cruelty" and evidence of "everyday sadism"—a less pathological variety of deriving pleasure from being cruel.
More than 70 psychology students participated in the study, which they thought was about "personality and tolerance for challenging jobs." (Interesting example of how female-dominated psychology classes are—women made up almost 73 percent of the sample.) They had to choose between four unpleasant tasks: killing bugs, helping the experimenter kill bugs, cleaning dirty toilets, or enduring an ice bath.
Though the participants were led to believe they were actually grinding up Tootsie and his friends, no bugs were harmed (the supposed killing machine in the experiment was just a modified coffee grinder). As the researchers expected, the participants who chose bug killing had the highest scores on a sadistic impulse test, which asked people to rate themselves on scales like "hurting people is exciting."
"As expected, higher sadistic-personality scores were associated with greater preference for bug killing over other tasks. The visceral experience of personally killing the bugs was the most appealing choice for sadists," the researchers wrote. The amount of pleasure they took in the activity also seemed to track how many bugs they killed.
The experiment controlled for "irrelevant phobias," which means they looked at whether or not people were crazy afraid of bugs—indicating that perhaps the bug killers really did just enjoy killing something. The researchers suggest that sadism is perhaps more common than we normally think of it. Sure, there's crazy serial killer variety sadism, but it also might manifest itself more commonly in everyday life. Like, perhaps, on the internet.
The researchers are planning to expand their sadism research in the context of online trolling. "Trolling culture is unique in that it explicitly celebrates sadistic pleasure, or 'lulz,'" University of British Columbia psychologist Erin Buckels said in a press statement. Oh no, the lulz!
The study appears in Psychological Science.
This one required me to think a little go get to the conclusion.
It seemed to say that people who on a psych test says that they are sadistic (and would enjoy hurting people) are also willing to kill bugs. It wasn't said, but I presume that those who prefer to clean toilets to harming bugs also scored lower on that sadism scale.
That wouldn't be newsworty -- mean people prefer to do mean things.
But if you see the experiment as a confirmation of those results, then you now have a measure of the percent of sadists in our midst. About 27% of the population sampled are sadists.
Or more specifically, 27% of psychology students are sadists.
I always thought there was something sinister about my fellow students when I took Psych 101!
it seems like this study just confirms the obvious, mean people like to do mean things.
Sadist as in Satin as in ancient evil God, verse a malevolent God that destroyed most of the Earth with a flood, as in the Gods both good and evil Gods see us humans as bugs as we humans see bugs, something to squish, when consider no longer useful.
Some eminent issues about the “experiment” and its “conclusions”.
It never seems to be discussed just what misrepresenting the purpose of the “experiment” is does to results. You could just say it's a behavioral experiment and not specify what is being tested for, because that may cause a change in a person's natural inclinations.
Why did they automatically release those who chose cleaning a toilet or sitting in a bucket of ice? Why not give them the choice, then, of other jobs? If it was known ahead of time that these individuals would be removed, they should have asked first if they would choose sitting in ice or cleaning a toilet, then, if they said “yes”, simply continued on and asked them if they would participate in the bug grinding. Note, cleaning a toilet or sitting in ice can indicate self loathing. Masochism is not necessarily very far from sadism.
Why is grinding bugs considered necessarily so sadistic, anyway? It's removed from seeing or experiencing the pain of the subjects, which supposedly is part of the attraction for sadists. Also, the subjects are distant from humans. And a quick, sudden grinding can be considered more merciful than torture. Also, what of the likelihood that they harbored the perception that what they're doing, “in the name of 'science'”, might be helpful for humanity in the future?
If killing animals, even in the name of “helping humanity in the future”, still indicates sadism, what to say of all the “scientists” who do everything from experimenting on animals, grinding up bugs, permitting dangerous drugs like fen phen on the market, failing to point out the evidence that there were no banned weapons systems in Iraq? Frankly, the “experiment” lays the groundwork for saying all “scientists” are depraved and perverted haters of mankind.
Which doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of sadists out there. Bullies are sadists. Those who curry their way into positions of power so they can push other people around have qualities of sadists. The individuals who post abusive, contemptuous and derisive material on blogs to try to derail truthful comments, individuals they used to call “contrary” for always interjecting deliberate insipidity into a discussion for the fun of seeing people overwrought, people they later termed “difficult”, people now recognized as clinical sociopaths, have sadistic qualities.
The problem is the bullies and psychopaths continue to abuse...and the nice people merely write books and do studies pointing it out.
And what is often forgotten as science searches for cosmic alien life, as in our human history, it is clearly written in many various religious history the cosmic Gods also can be bad and war with each other and if we do make contact with a higher intelligent aliens species, there is no reason to assume they will be nice to us humans.
Something is wrong here.
Whacking a bug is normal behaviour for any mammal. Even cows do it, all the time. Bugs are an annoyance, that we try to avoid as best as we can. No news there.
Presented with the two negative choices, cleaning toilets or taking an icy bath, I'd prefer both killing bugs by myself and help an experimenter kill bugs a any time.
Now, if I've been told that the experimenter was killing bugs by pulling of the limbs of the bugs one by one and waiting for them to die on their backs, I would definitely had one of those WTF moments in my life, and taken the icy bath instead.
Killing a bug by whacking it to death is not sadism. Killing a bug by torturing it to death is. There is a certain, and important difference here. That the obvious sadistic choice was lacking, makes the whole study worthless on my mind.
Good thing we have shows like dexter to inspire sadists to hang out together.
my classmate's aunt makes $79 hourly on the laptop.
She has been unemployed for 10 months but last month her pay was $19643 just working on the
laptop for a few hours. official site..... pick85.ℂℴℳ/
Sadly, the typical "progressive" is simply an angry, bitter person that uses our country's democratic process to punish, via taxation and regulation, those members of society that they despise for their greater financial and personal success in life. They're just another form of "sadist".
I don't agree with your whole comment riff_raff, but you are right about the problem of the "progreesive movement". It has to be stopped. Democrats and republicans need to band together and destroy it before it turns our nation into a complete commmunist state.