Scientists Developed This 9-Question Test To Measure How Sadistic Someone Is

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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.

When 199 undergraduate students took the test, the results were promising but inconclusive.

The test, researchers found, was good at measuring sadism and dark triad traits. And it suggested that there were specific and interpretable patterns in people's misanthropic personalities. But it didn't as good a job as they'd hoped in identifying sadism as separate from psychopathy and the rest of the dark tried.

So they weeded out questions that might have caused too much overlap and tried again with a nine-question version of the 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.

This time, when 202 students took the test, the results were stronger. It still correlated with other dark triad traits like psychopathy as expected, but did a better job of showing that sadism is a separate category. In both tests, men scored much more highly than women for the negative traits. These results were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The researchers note that there's a lot more work to do on what they're calling the Assessment of Sadistic Personality (ASP), including finding subjects who aren't college undergrads taking questionnaires for course credit (not the most diverse or representative sample). But they expect it will play a significant role as they come to understand sadism in clinical terms.

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