Jan Hoffman states in this article that ”Those who enjoy inflicting at least moderate pain on others, directly or vicariously, mingle with us daily”. These are not extremes such as Hannibal Lecter or Marquis to Sade but ‘everyday sadists’ such as mean girls at school or college who taunt their peers, or a teacher who constantly bullies a student in lessons. You may. i am sure, be able to come up with your own examples of people from your own life experience.
There is apparently very little research on sadism. Dr Paulhus who has made some headway with studies in this area, describe sadists as those people who look for opportunities to hurt people and prolong it for their own pleasure. Studies also indicate that sadists will choose to hurt people without provocation, even if the act takes time and effort — the only reward being the pleasure of inflicting cruelty.
So why are some people so chronically mean? Take a look at this most recent study and see what you think.