Home How Sadistic Are You? Psychologists Have Developed This 9-Question Sadism Test

How Sadistic Are You? Psychologists Have Developed This 9-Question Sadism Test

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Ramsay Bolton, Game of Thrones

While science cannot tell you how good or bad you are, it is getting better at figuring out whether you enjoy hurting others.

A new field in personality research studies “misanthropic” traits: characteristics that lead people to hurt those around them for their own benefit. And psychologists have established a “dark triad” of harmful personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy (or a lack of empathy), and Machiavellianism (or a tendency to manipulate others.)

Now, some researchers have suggested that a fourth trait should join the triad; sadism, or joy in inflicting pain on others.

Sadists take pleasure hurting other people. Like Ramsay Bolton of “Game of Thrones,” they are fearsome and evil.

In order to develop a test for sadism, researchers assembled a list of questions designed to poke right at the heart of a sadistic personality.

The first version was 20 questions long.

Using a scale from one to five (One meant completely disagree and five completely agree), subjects were asked to say how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the list.

  1. I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  2. People do what I want them to because they are afraid of me.
  3. When I tell people what to do, they know to do it.
  4. I never get tired of pushing people around.
  5. I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control.
  6. I control my friends through intimidation.
  7. When I mock someone, it is funny to see them get upset.
  8. Being mean to others can be exciting.
  9. When I get annoyed, tormenting people makes me feel better.
  10. I have hurt people close to me for enjoyment.
  11. I enjoy humiliating others.
  12. I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.
  13. I think about harassing others for enjoyment.
  14. I have cheated others because I enjoy it.
  15. I think about hurting people who irritate me.
  16. I’d lie to someone to make them upset.
  17. I have stolen from others without regard for the consequences.
  18. Making people feel bad about themselves makes me feel good.
  19. I am quick to humiliate others.
  20. I have tormented others without feeling remorse.

199 undergraduate students took the test but the results were inconclusive.

It did not do as good a job as they had hoped in identifying sadism as separate from psychopathy. They therefore weeded out questions that might have caused the overlap and ended up with this final 9-question test.

  1. I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  2. I never get tired of pushing people around.
  3. I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control.
  4. When I mock someone, it’s funny to see them get upset.
  5. Being mean to others can be exciting.
  6. I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.
  7. Watching people get into fights excites me.
  8. I think about hurting people who irritate me.
  9. I would not purposely hurt anybody, even if I didn’t like them.

202 students took the test and it was observed that men scored much more highly than women for the negative traits. These results were published the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

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Source: Nairobi Wire