It’s fascinating getting inside the mind and psyche of an Internet troll. How exactly do these trolls think? Deindividuation is central to understanding their thought process—the term describes that people are less likely to stick to social norms when we reduce our sense of our own identity. Let’s take a look at email communication. Psychologically, we are “distant” from the person we’re talking to and less focused on our own identity in an email. As a result, we’re more prone to exhibiting aggressive behavior.

Simple anonymity offers trolls a sense of safety, security, and protection in the online sphere. It also allows one to misrepresent him or herself to the world. However, even if this anonymity is removed, the inability to physically see the person on the other end causes trolls to act rudely and aggressively. This may include, for example, posting mean comments on a Facebook status. Trolls often use the Internet to voice complaints, “throw their opinions out,” and then simply run away. According to Dr. David Solly at University of the Rockies, complaining (whether on the Web or any other form) releases chemicals in the brain and body, helping us counteract stress and feel better physically.

Trolls often see the Web as a method of escapism from the mundane concerns of daily life. They see the online sphere as a place where the normal rules of social interaction do not apply. To learn more about how an Internet troll typically thinks and behaves, check out the infographic below presented by BestPsychologySchoolsOnline.