Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I did some searching but I was not able to find anything substantial on this topic either for or against. I am mainly trying to figure out whether online trolling is a way of redirecting otherwise destructive offline behavior.

So, is there a correlation between online vandalism (trolling) and offline vandalism (damaging/defacing public property)?

share|improve this question
I'm not aware of any research on this topic. What I think is that certain aspects of online behavior such as trolling are often interpreted as "people doing what they would not dare do offline". From this I would deduce the hypothesis that online trolls are those individuals that have stronger inhibitions against aggressive behavior. –  what Jun 21 '13 at 11:12
@what That would be valid for the mild effortless trolls. However, there are a large number of people who post very elaborate and well thought out joke/spam posts. These individuals, I think would be the ones who would have similar urges in their day to day life as well, but I may be wrong. –  AsheeshR Jun 22 '13 at 3:31
Usually a difference is made between physical (punching someone) and verbal (devaluing someone) violence/aggressive behavior, between direct (telling someone to their face that you dislike them) and indirect (telling lies about someone) aggression, and between other-directed and self-directed (cutting, depression) aggression. It is found that men and women differ in this, with men tending to be more physical, direct and other-directed. There are different explanations for this phenomenon: different socialization, evolution etc. [contd.] –  what Jun 22 '13 at 5:40
[contd.] I believe that there are different aggressive "styles", and that maybe trolls (verbal) and vandals (physical) fall into different categories and have different personalities. –  what Jun 22 '13 at 5:40
@what So there will probably be zero correlation between the two. Why dont you write that up as an answer? –  AsheeshR Jun 29 '13 at 14:29
show 1 more comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.