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Monday, September 30, 2013

‘Everyday Sadists’ Among Us

By Jan Hoffman
The New York Times
Originally published September 16, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

Those who enjoy inflicting at least moderate pain on others, directly or vicariously, mingle with us daily. Think mean girls, taunting a classmate to commit suicide. Or the professor who grills a squirming, clueless student, lips curled in a small, savage smile.

Delroy L. Paulhus, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, calls such people “everyday sadists.”

“They exist on a spectrum,” he said. “It could be at a hockey game and your guy is pummeling the opponent into hamburger and people are standing up having orgasms, to taking revenge on those you think deserve it, to schadenfreude.”

But acknowledging that sadists regularly cross our paths is unsettling, said Scott O. Lilienfeld, a professor of psychology at Emory University, who studies personality disorders. “We prefer to think, ‘There’s sadists, and then there’s the rest of us.’ ”

The entire story is here.
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