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The role of self-evaluation and envy in schadenfreude

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Abstract

In this article we address why and when people feel schadenfreude (pleasure at the misfortunes of others) in both interpersonal and intergroup contexts. Using findings from our own research programmes we show that schadenfreude is intensified when people are chronically or momentarily threatened in their self-worth, whereas it is attenuated when their self-evaluation is boosted; that malicious envy, but not benign envy, intensifies pleasure at the misfortunes of others; that these emotional responses are manifested in intergroup contexts via the same mechanisms; and that mere stereotypes, in the absence of any interaction or overt competition, are sufficient to elicit schadenfreude via such mechanisms. Together, these findings suggest that self-evaluation and envy both play an important role in evoking schadenfreude; people feel pleasure at the misfortunes of others when these misfortunes provide them with social comparisons that enhance their feelings of self-worth or remove the basis for painful feelings of envy.

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... The present work sheds light on the (social) function of schadenfreude, which has several practical implications (Fischer & Manstead, 2008;Parkinson, 1996). Studies at the intraindividual level have shown that schadenfreude provides people with a social comparison benefit and re-establishes self-worth in threatening situations (for an overview, see Van Dijk et al., 2015;Brambilla & Riva, 2017b;Van Dijk et al., 2012). The present work supports this function at the intergroup level. ...
... The failure of a high-ranking team whose rank was strongly reduced (Study 1) descriptively elicited stronger schadenfreude than the failure of a lower-ranking team whose rank was not reduced (Study 2; for the means, see Tables 1 and 2). This enabled spectators all over the world to look down on the team (Van Dijk et al., 2015). Since pleasing downward comparisons are a fundamental psychological mechanism (e.g., Mussweiler, 2003;Suls et al., 2002;Kahneman & Miller, 1986), schadenfreude should be observed on all professional levels and in all kinds of sports. ...
... Whereas sharing schadenfreude in response to an outgroup's failure may have positive effects for one's ingroup (increasing belongingness and identification), observing schadenfreude following an ingroup's failure may have negative effects for one's ingroup (decreasing belongingness and identification with the ingroup). Whether schadenfreude causes aggression towards outgroups(Cikara, 2015; or may even buffer aggression because it increases self-worth(Van Dijk et al., 2015) is an important question that should be explored in future studies.Tajfel, H. (2001). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. ...
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Objectives The failures of sport teams evoke strong emotions in spectators ranging from empathetic to unempathetic. The present work investigates how naturally varying group membership of participants (their nationality), dislike, social rank attainment (via dominance or prestige), and deservingness predict schadenfreude (= pleasure in response to another's misfortune) and sympathy in a highly relevant real-life sport event. Design I employed a quasi-experimental design and used the failure of the German national football team in the World Cup 2018 at group stage (Study 1) and the English team in the semi-finals (Study 2) to investigate which variables (disliking, deservingness, dominance, and prestige) predict schadenfreude and mediate the effect of group membership (same versus different nationality as the failing team) on schadenfreude. Results Between-group comparisons revealed that outgroup members expressed more schadenfreude and less sympathy than ingroup members. Furthermore, disliking, deservingness, and dominance, but not prestige positively predicted schadenfreude. The mediator disliking explained most of the differences in schadenfreude between ingroup and outgroup members in Study 1 (in which a relatively high-ranked team failed already at group-stage) as well as in Study 2 (in which a relatively low-ranked team failed only in the semi-finals, representing a rather mild failure). Conclusions The studies document divergent affective reactions of individuals merely differing in their national group membership. Dominance perceptions seem to vary with observers' group membership. I discuss the relative impact of each variable, the function of intergroup schadenfreude and practical implications.
... The intensity and consequences of this emotion depend on the relevance of the other's advantage for the self and the existence of personal (emotional regulation, self-control, selfesteem) and cultural resources to confront it (Feather, Wenzel, & McKee, 2013). Through the social comparison mechanism from which it emerges, envy plays a role of self-evaluation and, therefore, contributes to the construction of the self and social identity, generating self-awareness of one's qualities and possessions (Harter, 2012;Recio & Quintanilla, 2015;Stets & Burke, 2014;van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015;Zell & Exline, 2014). As we discuss below, studies with adults show that envy also depends on the value of the goal, based on the determination and effort made by the envier and the person envied to attain it, i.e., whether or not the advantage obtained is deserved (Hareli & Weiner, 2002;van de Ven, Zeelenberg, & Pieters, 2010). ...
... In addition, openly expressing malicious envy indicates suffering due to the inferiority of the envier. The same thing applies to schadenfreude, and its expression is not socially acceptable either (Fiske, 2010;Smith, 2013;Smith et al., 2014;van de Ven, 2014;van Dijk & Ouwerkerk, 2014;van Dijk et al., 2015). Most cultures have no specific word for schadenfreude, although pleasure at another's misfortune, the tendency to rejoice in situations of social comparison, is recognized and likened to malicious envy (see Quintanilla & Jensen de López, 2013 for a review). ...
... La intensidad y las consecuencias de esta emoción dependen de la relevancia que tiene para el yo la ventaja del otro y de la existencia de recursos personales (regulación emocional, autocontrol, autoestima) y culturales para enfrentarse a ella (Feather, Wenzel, & McKee, 2013). A través del mecanismo de comparación social, del que surge la envidia, esta emoción desempeña un papel de autoevaluación y, por tanto, contribuye a la construcción del yo y de la identidad social, generando autoconciencia de las cualidades y posesiones propias (Harter, 2012;Recio & Quintanilla, 2015;Stets & Burke, 2014;van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015;Zell & Exline, 2014). Como se comenta más adelante, las investigaciones realizadas con adultos muestran que la envidia también depende del valor del objetivo, basado en la determinación y el esfuerzo realizado por la persona que envidia y por la persona envidiada para conseguirlo; es decir, si la ventaja obtenida es merecida (Hareli & Weiner, 2002;van de Ven, Zeelenberg, & Pieters, 2010). ...
Article
Abstract: Objectives: envy is a negative social emotion that stems from a social comparison. This study explores the effect of deservingness on the intensity of schadenfreude (pleasure in another’s misfortune) in situations of invidious comparison. Method: the participants, 181 children between the ages of three and 10, were asked to describe what an envious character felt when the character (s/he) envied had lost an (deserved or undeserved) advantage. They were also asked to explain their answers. Results: the findings showed that schadenfreude was more intense when the lost advantage was undeserved than deserved only in young children. The difference between conditions decreased with age. The children’s explanations of schadenfreude were based on the damage to the envied person, whereas the responses of pity were justified by the misfortune and equitable ending (no one wins) of the story. Conclusions: the discussion addresses some of the possible factors, such as the acquisition of display rules, deservingness and perception of equality, that contribute to children’s understanding of emotions such as envy and schadenfreude.
... Therefore, when perceived greedy companies with discriminatory CSR policies face a crisis, consumers feel schadenfreude toward them and may engage in negative WOM (Coombs, 2007). Consumers who are discriminated against by inferior CSR policies may initially feel malicious envy toward the companies that implement such policies and may ultimately experience schadenfreude due to dislike, hostility, and the company's undeserved success (Van Dijk et al., 2015). As untested and instrumentally relevant information serves as negative WOM, rumor helps people to manage risk in ambiguous, dangerous, and potentially threatening situations (DiFonzo and Bordia, 2007). ...
... First, consumers who feel discriminated against by CSR policies gain self-enhancement opportunities by recovering their inferior positions through schadenfreude due to the misfortunes of perceived greedy companies. People attempt to share such companies' misfortunes because this gives them comfort (Van Dijk et al., 2015). ...
... 'my interests' (1) vs. 'its own interest' (7)'' and ''The company 'did not intend' (1) vs. 'intended' (7) to take advantage of me.'' Schadenfreude Schadenfreude was measured using five items that were adapted from the study by Van Dijk et al. (2015). Schadenfreude was measured by asking the respondents to what extent they felt liked and enjoyed with regard to the unfortunate rumor about the company. ...
Article
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is reported to have a positive effect on corporate image. However, if companies that have entered different markets implement market-discrimination CSR, which refers to unfairly applied CSR policies in the intermarket, and if the consumer recognizes this fact, the CSR effects will be diminished. To prove this, this research investigated consumers’ adverse reactions when a company that implements market-discrimination CSR faces a crisis. According to the results of this study, consumers who perceived company greed as evidence of a company practicing market-discrimination CSR activities experienced pleasure at the misfortune which called schadenfreude when the company faced a crisis and schadenfreude positively affected the argument strength of a rumor. Finally, the argument strength of a rumor has a positive effect on the consumer’s intention to spread the rumor as an act of revenge against the company. The results of this research suggest that CSR, which aims to build a positive corporate image, can have an adverse effect when it is felt that it is used to discriminate against consumers. Based on these results, this research presents theoretical and practical implications.
... Typical tasks require imagining one's own reactions upon learning that someone with higher social status or opposite political views has lost his/her job [6,7], or when reading that your least favorite sport team has been defeated [8][9][10]. These studies have shown that schadenfreude is modulated by the deservingness of the other's misfortune [11][12][13], the resentment [14] and envy [2,6,[15][16][17] toward the person or group that failed, and one's positive self-evaluation [15,16,18]. ...
... Typical tasks require imagining one's own reactions upon learning that someone with higher social status or opposite political views has lost his/her job [6,7], or when reading that your least favorite sport team has been defeated [8][9][10]. These studies have shown that schadenfreude is modulated by the deservingness of the other's misfortune [11][12][13], the resentment [14] and envy [2,6,[15][16][17] toward the person or group that failed, and one's positive self-evaluation [15,16,18]. ...
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Schadenfreude (i.e., the pleasure derived from another’s misfortune) has been widely studied by having participants imagine how they would feel in hypothetical scenarios describing another person’s pain or misfortune. However, research on affective forecasting shows that self-judgments of emotions are inaccurate in hypothetical situations. Here we show a study in which we first presented a hypothetical schadenfreude situation and few months later, due to an exceptional circumstance, the situation turned out to happen in reality. This fortuitous circumstance allowed us to compare people’s imagined emotional reactions with their actual feelings. Results showed that schadenfreude was higher in the real situation than in the hypothetical one. More importantly, participants used different proxies to predict their emotional reaction: while out-group dislike served as a proxy of schadenfreude in both types of scenario, the degree of in-group identification also increased schadenfreude in those who had experienced the real event, arguably a mechanism to promote positive self-evaluation. These results highlight the importance of assessing schadenfreude in the heat of the moment.
... It is typically happening in competitive circumstances (Smith et al., 2009), correlates with selfesteem (van Dijk et al., 2011), and occurs at individual and group levels (Brambilla & Riva, 2017). Schadenfreude can be caused by a threat to one's self-worth (van Dijk et al., 2015) and others' success (Leach & Spears, 2008). Among them, self-inferiority is the strongest (Leach & Spears, 2008), especially if the object correlates with self-esteem sources (Watanabe, 2019). ...
... social envy and schadenfreude belong to a social comparison of self-esteem linked with material possessions(van de Ven, 2016;van de Ven & Zeelenberg, 2018;van Dijk et al., 2015). ...
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
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Contempt is typically studied as a uniquely human moral emotion. However, this approach has yielded inconclusive results. We argue this is because the folk affect concept “contempt” has been inaccurately mapped onto basic affect systems. “Contempt” has features that are inconsistent with a basic emotion, especially its protracted duration and frequently cold phenomenology. Yet other features are inconsistent with a basic attitude. Nonetheless, the features of “contempt” functionally cohere. To account for this we revive and reconfigure the sentiment construct using the notion of evolved functional specialization. We develop the Attitude-Scenario-Emotion (ASE) model of sentiments, in which enduring attitudes represent others' social-relational value and moderate discrete emotions across scenarios. Sentiments are functional networks of attitudes and emotions. Distinct sentiments, including love , respect , like , hate , and fear , track distinct relational affordances, and each is emotionally pluripotent, thereby serving both bookkeeping and commitment functions within relationships. The sentiment contempt is an absence of respect ; from cues to another's low efficacy, it represents them as worthless and small, muting compassion , guilt , and shame and potentiating anger , disgust , and mirth . This sentiment is ancient yet implicated in the ratcheting evolution of human ultrasocialty. The manifolds of the contempt network, differentially engaged across individuals and populations, explain the features of “contempt”, its translatability, and its variable experience – as “hot” or “cold”, occurrent or enduring, and anger-like or disgust-like. This rapprochement between psychological anthropology and evolutionary psychology contributes both methodological and empirical insights, with broad implications for understanding the functional and cultural organization of social affect.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), Commentary/Gervais & Fessler: contempt and the deep structure of affect BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 40 (2017) and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
In the Attitude–Scenario–Emotion (ASE) model, social relationships are subpersonally realized by sentiments: a network of emotions/attitudes representing relational values. We discuss how relational values differ from moral values and raise the issue of their ontogeny from genetic and cultural factors. Because relational values develop early in life, they cannot rely solely on cognition as suggested by the notion of attitude.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), Commentary/Gervais & Fessler: contempt and the deep structure of affect BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 40 (2017) and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
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Insensitive parental thoughts and affect, similar to contempt, may be mapped onto a network of basic emotions moderated by attitudinal representations of social-relational value. Brain mechanisms that reflect emotional valence of baby signals among parents vary according to individual differences and show plasticity over time. Furthermore, mental health problems and treatments for parents may affect these brain systems toward or away from contempt, respectively.
... Self-evaluation threats and envy are all important factors inducing gloat. The motivation underneath schadenfrede is to allow people increase their sense of self-worth and eliminate the pain caused by envy (Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). ...
... The Dual Envy Theory predicts that the inconsistency can be unraveled by taking the two forms of envy into account. Given that malicious envy is associated with a motivation to decrease superior others' status (Lange & Crusius, 2015b), it positively predicts schadenfreude ( Van de Ven et al., 2015;Van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). In contrast, as the benignly envious may sometimes regard the envied person as a means to improve themselves, benign envy should negatively predict schadenfreude (e.g., Feather, Wenzel, & McKee, 2013). ...
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Despite envy’s importance as a driver of social behavior, scholars disagree on its conceptualization. We review the literature and distinguish three incongruent theories: (a) Malicious Envy Theory (i.e., envy as uniform and malicious), (b) Dual Envy Theory (i.e., envy as taking on two forms, benign and malicious), and (c) Pain Theory of Envy (i.e., envy as uniform and driven by pain). Moreover, within and across theories, operationalizations of envy have included various different components. We integrate these conceptualizations using a data-driven approach, deriving a comprehensive theory of envy in five studies (total N = 1,237)—the Pain-driven Dual Envy (PaDE) Theory. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of an exhaustive set of envy components (Studies 1-4) suggest that envy consists of three factors: Pain (i.e., preoccupation with the envy-eliciting situation, inferiority), predicts both benign envy (i.e., desire for the envy object, improvement motivation, emulation of the other), and malicious envy (i.e., communication about the other, directed aggression, nondirected aggression). An experience-sampling study (Study 5) suggests that pain constitutes a quickly fading reaction, whereas benign and malicious envy are enduring attitudinal constructs. We apply this theory in a meta-analysis on the controversial relation of envy and schadenfreude (N = 4,366), finding that envy and schadenfreude are more strongly and positively correlated to the extent that the respective research operationalizes envy as malicious, compared to as pain or benign envy. We discuss how the PaDE Theory can illuminate research on envy in diverse settings, and envy’s relation to other distinct emotions.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
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The phylogenetically ancient neuropeptide oxytocin has been linked to a plethora of social behaviors. Here, we argue that the action of oxytocin is not restricted to the downstream level of emotional responses, but substantially alters higher representations of attitudes and values by exerting a distant modulatory influence on cortical areas and their reciprocal interplay with subcortical regions and hormonal systems.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
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The target article argues that contempt is a sentiment, and that sentiments are the deep structure of social affect. The 26 commentaries meet these claims with a range of exciting extensions and applications, as well as critiques. Most significantly, we reply that construction and emergence are necessary for, not incompatible with, evolved design, while parsimony requires explanatory adequacy and predictive accuracy, not mere simplicity.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), Commentary/Gervais & Fessler: contempt and the deep structure of affect BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 40 (2017) and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
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Prejudice, like contempt, is a general evaluation rather than a specific emotion. I explore the idea that emotions and attitudes are conceptually distinct by applying Gervais & Fessler's model to the intergroup context. I argue that prejudice is an affective representation of a social group's relational value (friend or foe) and dispute the idea that there are many distinct prejudices.
... Furthermore, using racial groups allowed us to test additional predictions regarding schadenfreude. Schadenfreude most often targets individuals and groups that are envied (van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). The stereotype content model (Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002) predicts that groups that are perceived as competent but cold-for example, Asian-Americans-are most likely to be targets of envious prejudice (Cikara & Fiske, 2012;Lin, Kwan, Cheung, & Fiske, 2005). ...
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The capacity to empathize with others facilitates prosocial behavior. People’s willingness and capacity to empathize, however, is often contingent upon the target’s group membership – people are less empathic towards those they categorize as out-group members. In competitive or threatening intergroup contexts, people may even feel pleasure (counter-empathy) in response to out-group members’ misfortunes. Social dominance orientation (SDO), or the extent to which people prefer and promote group-based inequalities, is an ideological variable that is associated with a competitive view of the world, increased prejudicial attitudes, and decreased empathy. Thus, higher levels of SDO should be associated with reduced empathy and increased counter-empathy in general, but especially towards those whose subjugation maintains group inequalities. Across three studies we show that among White individuals, higher SDO levels are associated with less empathy, and more counter-empathy in response to others’ good and bad fortunes. More importantly, these reductions in empathy and increases in schadenfreude as a function of SDO were significantly stronger for Asian and Black targets than for in-group White targets when group boundaries were made salient prior to the empathy ratings. Finally, in a fourth study we show that this phenomenon is not dependent upon a history of status differences: higher SDO scores were associated with decreased empathy and increased counter-empathy for competitive out-group (relative to in-group) targets in a novel group setting. We discuss implications of these effects for hierarchy maintenance.
... Aggressive humor is defined as humor that enhances the self at the expense of others (laughing at somebody rather than laughing with somebody; Martin et al., 2003). Likewise, schadenfreude can enhance the self at the expense of others (van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). People watching fail videos and laughing at fail victims might think better of themselves because they believe they are not as "clumsy", "dumb", or "pathetic" as the fail victims. ...
Article
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Fail videos showing mishaps/accidents are very popular on YouTube. But is this genre affected by sexism, that is, are women portrayed more often than men in an objectifying, sexualized manner in the video clips (H1), and are women more likely than men to be the target of gendered online hate speech in the video comments (H2)? Quantitative content analyses of 500 video clips (derived from 50 videos) and of 1,000 video comments (derived from 5 “male” and 5 “female” videos) from YouTube’s most popular fail video channel FailArmy were conducted. Women in fail videos were portrayed in an objectifying, sexualized manner twice as often (H1), and were the target of gendered hate comments nearly five times more often (H2) compared to men. Future research could analyze videos and comments from additional fail channels and investigate the reasons for the sexualized portrayals as well as for the audience’s hateful reactions.
... Furthermore, using racial groups allowed us to test additional predictions regarding schadenfreude. Schadenfreude most often targets individuals and groups that are envied (van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). The stereotype content model (Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002) predicts that groups that are perceived as competent but cold-for example, Asian-Americans-are most likely to be targets of envious prejudice (Cikara & Fiske, 2012;Lin, Kwan, Cheung, & Fiske, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
The capacity to empathize with others facilitates prosocial behavior. People's willingness and capacity to empathize, however, is often contingent upon the target's group membership – people are less empathic towards those they categorize as out-group members. In competitive or threatening intergroup contexts, people may even feel pleasure (counter-empathy) in response to out-group members' misfortunes. Social dominance orientation (SDO), or the extent to which people prefer and promote group-based inequalities, is an ideological variable that is associated with a competitive view of the world, increased prejudicial attitudes, and decreased empathy. Thus, higher levels of SDO should be associated with reduced empathy and increased counter-empathy in general, but especially towards those whose subjugation maintains group inequalities. Across three studies we show that among White individuals, higher SDO levels are associated with less empathy, and more counter-empathy in response to others' good and bad fortunes. More importantly, these reductions in empathy and increases in schadenfreude as a function of SDO were significantly stronger for Asian and Black targets than for in-group White targets when group boundaries were made salient prior to the empathy ratings. Finally, in a fourth study we show that this phenomenon is not dependent upon a history of status differences: higher SDO scores were associated with decreased empathy and increased counter-empathy for competitive out-group (relative to in-group) targets in a novel group setting. We discuss implications of these effects for hierarchy maintenance.
... In this case, coworkers become third parties' foes and constantly impede the latter to attain their own goals. The observation of antagonistic targets or foes' misfortune (i.e., PAS) serves as imaginary revenge and facilitates third parties' more pleasure from others' misfortune and experiencing more schadenfreude (Van Dijk et al. 2015). For example, the audience (third parties) experience schadenfreude when observing a rival team lose the game (John 2004). ...
Article
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Abusive supervision negatively affects its direct victims. However, recent studies have begun to explore how abusive supervision affects third parties (peer abusive supervision). We use the emotion-based process model of schadenfreude as a basis to suggest that third parties will experience schadenfreude and increase their work engagement as a response to peer abusive supervision (PAS). Furthermore, we suggest that the context of competitive goal interdependence facilitates the indirect relationship between PAS and third parties’ work engagement on schadenfreude. We use a mixed-method approach to test our hypotheses. Data from an experimental study conducted by facial expression analysis technology (Study 1, a 2 × 2 design, N = 104) and a multi‐wave field study (Study 2, N = 229) generally support our hypotheses. Overall, our study extends PAS literature and meaningfully informs practitioners who aim to promote ethical workplace environments.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), Commentary/Gervais & Fessler: contempt and the deep structure of affect BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 40 (2017) and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
Article
The hypothesis of a phylogenetic connection between protorespect in primate dominance hierarchies and respect in human prestige hierarchies lies in the principle that dominance is a domain of competence like others and, hence, that high-ranking primates have protoprestige . The idea that dominant primates manifest protocontempt to subordinates suggests that “looking down on” followers is intrinsic to leadership in humans, but that the expression of contempt varies critically in relation to the socioecological context.
... The Dual Envy Theory predicts that the inconsistency can be unraveled by taking the two forms of envy into account. Given that malicious envy is associated with a motivation to decrease superior others' status (Lange & Crusius, 2015b), it positively predicts schadenfreude ( Van de Ven et al., 2015;Van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). In contrast, as the benignly envious may sometimes regard the envied person as a means to improve themselves, benign envy should negatively predict schadenfreude (e.g., Feather, Wenzel, & McKee, 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite envy’s importance as a driver of social behavior, scholars disagree on its conceptualization. We review the literature and distinguish three incongruent theories: (a) Malicious Envy Theory (i.e., envy as uniform and malicious), (b) Dual Envy Theory (i.e., envy as taking on two forms, benign and malicious), and (c) Pain Theory of Envy (i.e., envy as uniform and driven by pain). Moreover, within and across theories, operationalizations of envy have included various different components. We integrate these conceptualizations using a data-driven approach, deriving a comprehensive theory of envy in five studies (total N = 1,237)—the Pain-driven Dual Envy (PaDE) Theory. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of an exhaustive set of envy components (Studies 1-4) suggest that envy consists of three factors: Pain (i.e., preoccupation with the envy-eliciting situation, inferiority), predicts both benign envy (i.e., desire for the envy object, improvement motivation, emulation of the other), and malicious envy (i.e., communication about the other, directed aggression, nondirected aggression). An experience-sampling study (Study 5) suggests that pain constitutes a quickly fading reaction, whereas benign and malicious envy are enduring attitudinal constructs. We apply this theory in a meta-analysis on the controversial relation of envy and schadenfreude (N = 4,366), finding that envy and schadenfreude are more strongly and positively correlated to the extent that the respective research operationalizes envy as malicious, compared to as pain or benign envy. We discuss how the PaDE Theory can illuminate research on envy in diverse settings, and envy’s relation to other distinct emotions.
... So we consider enhancement of self-evaluation as a possible outcome of schadenfreude. This proposal is opposite to that made by van Dijk and colleagues (e.g., van Dijk and Ouwerkerk 2014) who argued that schadenfreude is an outcome of a concern for positive self-evaluation, i.e., the path goes from self-evaluation to schadenfreude rather than the reverse (see also van Dijk et al. 2015). This would be an interesting area for future research. ...
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Participants (Study 1: N = 138, Study 2: N = 153) responded to a video in which a person suffered a mishap. The studies manipulated whether or not the person was responsible for the mishap and the degree to which the consequences were subsequently found to be serious. Results of Study 1 showed reduction in schadenfreude and more compassion for the victim in the serious condition due to appraisals that it was immoral to laugh about the misfortune. The stronger these appraisals and the stronger the initial schadenfreude, the stronger were moral emotions (guilt, shame, and regret) about initially expressed schadenfreude. Moral emotions and compassion fostered prosocial behavior. Study 2 extended these results by showing that seriousness of the consequences acted as a moderator for most of these findings with significant effects occurring in the serious condition only. Most reduction in schadenfreude occurred when the consequences were serious and when the person was less responsible for the misfortune. The studies extend past research by investigating schadenfreude and other emotions in a context that does not involve social comparison and where participants reflected on their initial expressions of schadenfreude.
... Collective schadenfreude-rejoicing in the misfortunes of other groups-may be seen as an indirect way of expressing vengeful intergroup hostility compensating for threats to the in-group's image (Leach & Spears, 2008;Leach, Spears, Branscombe, & Doosje, 2003;Sawada & Hayama, 2012). Collective schadenfreude occurs in response to the misfortunes of out-groups that are envied because they are better or have a higher status than the in-group (Cikara & Fiske, 2012Van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015) or because they are superior in a domain relevant to the ingroup's image (Leach et al., 2003;Leach & Spears, 2008). Experiencing collective schadenfreude reduces the adverse emotional effect of inferiority in the intergroup context (Leach & Spears, 2008). ...
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Results of five studies (N=1596) linked collective narcissism—a belief in in-group exaggerated greatness contingent on external validation—to direct and indirect, retaliatory hostility in response to situations that collective narcissists perceived as insulting to the in-group but which fell well beyond the definition of an insult. In Turkey, collective narcissists responded with schadenfreude to the European economic crisis after feeling humiliated by the Turkish wait to be admitted to the European Union (Study 1). In Portugal, they supported hostile actions towards Germans and rejoiced in the German economic crisis after perceiving Germany’s position in the European Union as more important than the position of Portugal (Study 2). In Poland, they supported hostile actions towards the makers of a movie they found offensive to Poland (Studies 3 and 5) and responded with direct and indirect hostility towards a celebrity whose jokes about the Polish government they found offensive (Study 4). Comparisons with self-positivity and in-group positivity indices and predictors of intergroup hostility indicated that collective narcissism is the only systematic predictor of hypersensitivity to in-group insult followed by direct and indirect, retaliatory intergroup hostility. Copyright © 2016 European Association of Personality Psychology
... Without stealth, the focal individual may face serious costs: spite invites its targets to retaliate against the spiteful individual, the targets of envious spite tend to be (by definition) in a superior position to retaliate, and envy can be understood as an implicit admission of competitive disadvantage that can be used to exploit the envious individual. Envy is associated with schadenfreude-joy in the misfortune of others (Brigham et al., 1997;van Dijk et al., 2015;Sznycer et al., in prep.). ...
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Social emotions appear to be behavior-regulating programs built by natural selection to solve adaptive problems in the domain of social valuation-the disposition to attend to, associate with, defer to, and aid target individuals based on their probable contributions to the fitness of the valuer. For example, shame functions to prevent and mitigate the costs of being socially devalued by others, whereas anger functions to correct those people who attach insufficient weight to the welfare of the self. Here we review theory and evidence suggesting that social emotions such as guilt, gratitude, anger, pride, shame, sadness, and envy are all governed by a common grammar of social valuation even when each emotion has its own distinct adaptive function and structure. We also provide evidence that social emotions and social valuation operate with a substantial degree of universality across cultures. This emotion-valuation constellation appears to shape human sociality through interpersonal interactions. Expanding upon this, we explore how signatures of this constellation may be evident in two spheres of human sociality: personality and the criminal justice system.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), Commentary/Gervais & Fessler: contempt and the deep structure of affect BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 40 (2017) and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
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Gervais and Fessler argue the perceived legitimacy of contempt has declined over time in the US, citing evidence of a decrease in the frequency of its use in the American English corpus. We argue that this decline in contempt, as reflected in cultural products, is linked to shifts in key socio-ecological features previously associated with other forms of cultural change.
... Considering that downward social comparisons promote self-enhancement (Collins, 1996;Gibbons & Gerrard, 1989;Morse & Gergen, 1970;Wills, 1981) and that schadenfreude is an emotional consequence of downward social comparisons (Smith, 2000), one possibility is that schadenfreude might be instrumental in enhancing one's self-view. In line with this reasoning, it has been shown that the feelings of schadenfreude and self-enhancement are inherently linked and that people enjoy others' misfortunes primarily when their personal self-evaluation is chronically or momentarily threatened ; for a review, Van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). Thus, individuals who experience a self-evaluation threat have a greater need to protect their self-image and are consequently more likely to experience schadenfreude following another's setback than those who are not under threat . ...
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The present research tested whether observing the failure of another individual and experiencing schadenfreude (i.e., pleasure at others’ misfortune) enhances the satisfaction of basic psychological needs in terms of self-esteem, control, belongingness, and meaningful existence. Considering hypothetical scenarios (Experiment 1and Experiment 4), real-life past experiences (Experiment 2), and ostensibly real interactions (Experiment 3), four experiments revealed that individuals reported higher levels of need satisfaction when another’s setback occurred in a competitive circumstance rather than in a non-competitive circumstance. Moreover, the increased feeling of schadenfreude accounted for the effect of observing the misfortune befalling a competitor on the subsequent satisfaction of human needs. Results are discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for research on schadenfreude and future research directions are outlined.
... Literature suggests that the factors: organizational citizenship behavior and job satisfaction are associated but does not provide a clear or broader picture (Bolino M. C., 1999) (Judge & Bono, 2001) (Leary & Kowalski, 1990) (Smith, Parrott, Diener, Hoyle, & Kim, 1999) (Tai, Narayanan, & Mcallister, 2012) (van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015). Therefore, this study investigates how feelings of envy due to the career development of a referent other may lead to positive or negative employee outcomes. ...
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... Without other descriptions such as target's morality, misconduct, specific mental states, or group membership, we have shown that simply being aware of another person's general belief about the world is sufficient to alter how perceivers feel about that person. Whereas schadenfreude for undeserved misfortunes has previously been studied featuring envied or otherwise disliked targets (Berndsen et al., 2017;van de Ven et al., 2015;van Dijk, Ouwerkerk, Smith, & Cikara, 2015), to our knowledge, the current work is the first to document that schadenfreude can emerge when targets are essentially innocent and not reprehensible in any obvious way. ...
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When witnessing misfortunes, people sometimes react with schadenfreude—malicious pleasure at another's suffering. Previous research suggests that schadenfreude is elicited for competitors and envied targets, or when misfortunes seem deserved. Six experiments (five pre-registered, N-total = 3324) support a novel hypothesis that perceivers feel greater schadenfreude for social targets who endorse a strong general belief in a just world (BJW), even when misfortunes occur outside of the typical conditions that elicit schadenfreude. Experiments 1–2 show that people feel schadenfreude at the accidental misfortune of a person who expresses strong BJW, based in part on their misfortune seeming more deserved. Experiment 3 demonstrates the same effect for a wealthy, strong-BJW target who suffers a life-changing misfortune. In Experiment 4, we demonstrate that perceivers infer stronger BJW from a wealthy (vs. poor) person and that these inferences lead to increased perceptions that the misfortune was deserved, resulting in greater schadenfreude. Finally, Experiments 5–6 show that the effect of target BJW on schadenfreude via perceived deservingness is moderated by a target's financial status, such that endorsing strong BJW is particularly consequential for wealthy and middle-income targets. We conclude that even when people are not responsible for their predicaments, perceivers believe the misfortunes of people with strong just-world beliefs are more fitting and therefore derive more pleasure at their expense. The current research builds on and extends both schadenfreude and just-world belief literatures by documenting a unique antecedent of schadenfreude based on perceivers' inferences or knowledge regarding how someone generally views their world.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), Commentary/Gervais & Fessler: contempt and the deep structure of affect BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 40 (2017) and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
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"Contempt" is proposed to be a unique aspect of human nature yet a non-natural kind. Its psychological construct is framed as a sentiment emerging from a stratification of diverse basic emotions and dispositional attitudes. Accordingly, "contempt" might transcend traditional conceptual levels in social psychology, including experience and recognition of emotion, dyadic and group dynamics, context-conditioned attitudes, time-enduring personality structure, and morality. This strikes us as a modern psychological account of a high-level social-affective cognitive facet that joins forces with recent developments in the social neuroscience by drawing psychological conclusion from brain biology.
... Although it may be pragmatic for scientists to conceptualize constructs as primarily attitudinal or emotionaland carve out corresponding niches in circumscribed academic subfieldsample evidence suggests that many constructs involve components of both. For example, feelings-asinformation theory suggests that individuals rely on momentary affect when making attitude-like evaluations (Schwarz 2010), and functionalist models of distinct emotions often explicitly incorporate attitude-like evaluations of the self and others as necessary prerequisites for certain emotional experiences (e.g., Tracy & Robins 2004;Van Dijk et al. 2015). ...
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Although it is well-established that an objectively deserved misfortune promotes schadenfreude about the misfortune, there is a small body of research suggesting that an undeserved misfortune can also enhance schadenfreude. The aim of the present study was to investigate the processes that underlie schadenfreude about an undeserved misfortune. Participants (N = 61) were asked to respond to a scenario in which a person was responsible or not responsible for a negative action. In the responsible condition, two independent routes to schadenfreude were observed: deservingness of the misfortune (traditional route) and resentment towards the target. More importantly, results showed that when the target of the misfortune was not responsible for the negative action, the relationship between schadenfreude and resentment towards the target was mediated by the re-construal of an objectively undeserved misfortune as a ‘deserved’ misfortune. The study further found that expressing schadenfreude about another’s misfortune makes one feel better about oneself without affecting moral emotions. The findings expand our understanding of schadenfreude about undeserved negative outcomes.
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Gervais & Fessler reintroduce the concept of a sentiment as a framework for conceptualizing contempt, a construct with both attitudinal and emotional components. We propose that humility might also fit this mold. We review recent findings regarding the antecedents, phenomenology, and functional consequences of humility, and discuss why conceptualizing it as a sentiment may advance our understanding of this construct.
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Extensive research has confirmed that negative emotions play a key role in the framing effect. Yet little is known about whether and how malicious envy modulates the framing effect. To examine the potential impact and mechanism of malicious envy on the framing effect, two experiments were conducted in which participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a malicious envy condition and a control condition. In Experiment 1, after malicious envy was activated and measured, the participants were asked to complete a framing task. The results showed that participants in the malicious envy group made more risk-averse choices in the gain frame than those in the control group, but these two groups of participants did not exhibit a behavioral difference in the loss frame. In Experiment 2, the procedure was identical to Experiment 1, except that, after the malicious envy scale was administered, two scales were used to measure hope for success and fear of failure. Experiment 2 revealed the same effect of malicious envy on decision making in the framing task. Experiment 2 also found that malicious envy activated two types of achievement motivation. Further, fear of failure mediated the effect of malicious envy on risky decision making in the framing task, while hope for success did not mediate the effect. The relationships between malicious envy, framing effect, and achievement motivation have important implications with respect to interventions for malicious envy.
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In diesem Kapitel … findest du viele nützliche Tipps für deine Ernährung. Wir vernachlässigen unser Gehirn und denken selten darüber nach, welchen Einfluss unser Essen auf unser Gehirn hat. Eine gesunde Ernährung ist nicht nur wichtig für die körperliche Gesundheit, sondern laut unzähligen Studien auch absolut wichtig für eine optimale und gesunde Gehirnfunktion. Mit welchen Nahrungsmitteln können wir unsere Leistung und geistige Gesundheit verbessern? Eines ist klar: Unter Fast Food leidet unser Gehirn. Gehen wir der Sache auf den Grund gehen und finden heraus, von welchen Lebensmitteln wir lieber die Finger lassen und bei welchen Nahrungsmitteln wir öfters zugreifen sollten.
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We investigated how abusive supervision influences interactions between third-party observers and abused victims and hypothesized when and why third parties react maliciously toward victims of abusive supervision. Drawing on the theory of rivalry, we predicted that third-party observers would experience an “evil pleasure” (schadenfreude) when they perceive a high level of rivalry with the victims of abusive supervision and that the experienced schadenfreude then would motivate third parties to engage in interpersonal destructive behaviors (i.e., undermining, incivility, and interpersonal deviance) toward the victims. We further proposed that such malicious reactions would be attenuated if groups have a high level of cooperative goals. Results based on one experimental study and two time-lagged field studies lend support to our propositions.
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Mothers utilize social comparisons to other parents to calibrate evaluations of themselves and their children, and these comparisons might prompt feelings of envy. Envy can either be malicious and destructive, or relatively more benign and constructive. This research examined distinctions between malicious and benign envy among Chinese mothers, differences from related emotions (i.e., resentment and admiration), and themes present in these experiences. An online sample of 152 Mainland Chinese mothers ( M age = 46.91, SD = 2.26) recalled malicious and benign envy, admiration, and resentment experiences toward other parents and reported associated appraisals, motivations, and action tendencies. Results showed distinctions between malicious and benign maternal envy. Malicious envy included lower perceived control, higher perceived unfairness, and more desire to degrade the other than benign envy. Benevolent feelings toward the envied target characterized benign envy. Both forms of envy were linked to self-improvement motivation. Personal characteristics and achievements of both other parents and other children were prominent themes in mothers’ experiences of various emotions. This research provides insights into how and why Chinese mothers experience different forms of envy, and has implications for research on social comparisons made in parenting contexts.
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The study investigates the predictors of schadenfreude by studying the moderating role of interpersonal jea lousy. Firstly, the study intended to investigate the predictors of schadenfreude among adolescents university students. Secondly the study examined the moderating role of interpersonal jealousy between interpersonal jealousy and social comparison. In this regard, Social comparison leads towards schadenfreude and interpersonal jealousy were moderate their relationship at adolescent’s age. Participants comprised of 300 adolescent’s. Data was collected by administering schadenfreude Questionnaire, Batool, 2013. Interpersonal jealousy Questionnaire and social comparison Questionnaire. SPSS-20 has been used for data analysis. The study has been administered. Social comparison had positive correlation with Schadenfreude. Interpersonal jealousy had Positive correlation with Schadenfreude. Thus the Social comparison and interpersonal jealousy are positive analysts of schadenfreude.
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İşletme ve tüketiciler başta olmak üzere pazarın bileşenleri için genellikle önemli bir sorun olarak kabul gören sahte ürünler, tüketici davranışlarını anlamada önemli bir konudur. Bu araştırmada, tüketicinin sahte giyim ürünleri satın alma niyetinde; fiyat duyarlılığı, etik algı ve schadenfreude duygusu değişkenlerinin etkisini ortaya koymak amaçlanmaktadır. Araştırma amacı doğrultusunda, öğrenci örnekleminden betimsel anket yöntemiyle birincil veriler toplanmıştır. Elde edilen veriler üzerinde gerçekleştirilen betimsel istatistikler, normallik analizi ve güvenilirlik analizlerinin ardından; araştırma hipotezleri yapısal eşitlik modeli ile test edilmiştir. Araştırma neticesinde; sırasıyla etik algı, fiyat duyarlılığı ve schadenfreude duygusunun, giyim ürünlerinin sahtelerini satın alma niyetini etkilediği tespit edilmiştir. Araştırmada, tüketicilerin işletmelere yönelik olumsuz duygularının da sahte ürün satın alma niyetinde etkili olabileceği fikri desteklenmektedir. Son olarak araştırma bulguları tartışılmakta ve işletme ve araştırmacılar için öneriler geliştirilmektedir. Anahtar kelimeler: Sahte ürün, satın alma niyeti, fiyat duyarlılığı, etik algı, schadenfreude ABSTRACT Counterfeit products, which are generally accepted as an important problem for the components of the market, especially for the business and consumers, is an important issue in understanding consumer behavior. In this research, it is aimed to reveal the effect of the variables of price sensitivity, ethical perception and emotion of schadenfreude on the consumer's intention to purchase counterfeit clothing products. For the purpose of the research, primary data were collected from the student sample with the descriptive survey method. After the descriptive statistics, normality analysis and reliability analysis performed on the obtained data, the research hypotheses were tested with the structural equation model. As a result of the research; it has been determined that ethical perception, price sensitivity and schadenfreude emotion, affect the intention to purchase counterfeit clothing products, respectively. The research supports the idea that consumers' negative feelings towards businesses may also be effective in their intention to purchase counterfeit products. Finally, the research findings are discussed and recommendations are developed for businesses and researchers.
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Many individuals become aggressive in reaction to an actual or potential danger, or it can be a learned behaviour that assists them in meeting their needs. Anger is a natural emotion that everyone feels at different moments. It is, in effect, a normal reaction to a challenge, assisting us in preparing for defence or standing up for ourselves It usually occurs as a response to thoughts or feelings such as pain, irritation, worry, envy, discomfort, rejection, or shame. The purpose of this investigation is to examine effects of trait anger (AN) and aggressiveness (AG) on life satisfaction (LS) of general adult population, as well as to determine whether trait anger (AN) moderates the mediating effect of aggressiveness (AG) in the schadenfreude (SCH)-life satisfaction (LS) relationship. 390 individuals responded to an online investigation, selected via convenience sampling. Trait anger was found to moderate the effect of schadenfreude and life satisfaction. Increased levels of aggressiveness were linked to low levels of life satisfaction. Conditional effects found a stronger association between schadenfreude and aggressiveness for those low in trait anger relative to those high in trait anger. Participants with low scores in trait anger and high scores in schadenfreude had higher levels of aggressiveness than individuals with lows cores in trait anger. Conclusions and implications are discussed.
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Schadenfreude is the distinctive pleasure people derive from others' misfortune. Research over the past three decades points to the multifaceted nature of Schadenfreude rooted in humans’ concerns for social justice, self-evaluation, and social identity. Less is known, however, regarding how the differing facets of Schadenfreude are interrelated and take shape in response to these concerns. To address these questions, we review extant theories in social psychology and draw upon evidence from developmental, personality, and clinical research literature to propose a novel, tripartite, taxonomy of Schadenfreude embedded in a motivational model. Our model posits that Schadenfreude comprises three separable but interrelated subforms (aggression, rivalry, and justice), which display different developmental trajectories and personality correlates. This model further posits that dehumanization plays a central role in both eliciting Schadenfreude and integrating its various facets. In closing, we point to fruitful directions for future research motivated by this novel account of Schadenfreude.
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But it is Schadenfreude, a mischievous delight in the misfortunes of others, which remains the worst trait in human nature … In general, it may be said that it takes the place which pity ought to take – pity which is its opposite, and the true source of all real justice and charity … Envy, although it is a reprehensible feeling, still admits of some excuse, and is, in general, a very human quality; whereas the delight in mischief [Schadenfreude] is diabolical, and its taunts are the laughter of hell. Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, volume II, Chapter VIII (On Ethics), section 114) People perceive others’ misfortunes everyday; yet how people respond to another person’s pain is strongly affected by their pre-existing prejudices about the individual experiencing the outcome. In many cases people experience pity or empathy when they see other people suffering, but this responses is not universal (Cikara, Bruneau, and Saxe, 2011). Schadenfreude is the dark side of people’s response to another’s troubles, referring to the perceiver’s experience of pleasure at another’s misfortune (Heider, 1958). At least three conditions commonly predict schadenfreude (Smith et al., 2009): when observers gain from the misfortune (Smith et al., 2006; Van Dijk and Ouwerkerk, Chapter 1 in this volume); when another’s misfortune seems deserved (Ben-Ze’ev, Chapter 5 in this volume; Feather, 1999, 2006, and Chapter 3 in this volume; Feather and Nairn, 2005; Portmann, Chapter 2 in this volume; Van Dijk et al., 2005); and when a misfortune befalls an envied person (Smith, Thielke, and Powell, Chapter 6, this volume; Smith et al., 1996; Takahashi et al., 2009).
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People have an affective response to others based on their perceived social category. This group-based affect is influenced by the target's perceived warmth and competence, and affects subsequent behavioral tendencies toward the target. One such group-based emotion is envy, an ambivalent reaction that entails both admiration and dislike to social targets. Envied targets elicit obligatory association but often also elicit active harm when social contexts allow it. This chapter discusses the mechanisms of this volatile ambivalent social emotion within the context of social psychological research and neuroscience. In addition, it addresses social psychological questions using both neuroscience and questionnaire data. First, the chapter describes envy as an ambivalent emotion, and then places it within the stereotype content model of intergroup emotions. It then examines its cognitive, neural, and behavioral concomitant.
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At first glance, envy appears to be a maladaptive emotion. A great deal of subjective distress, workplace angst, and sibling rivalry owes itself to this potentially destructive emotion. Envy, however, is as ubiquitous as it is socially undesirable. Young children and adults alike are quick to take note when something is "not fair," although over time they become more adept at keeping such observations to themselves. The recognition of another's advantage, and the feelings of unfairness and hostility that sometimes follow, are an important part of what it means to be human. Despite its reputation as being distasteful, tacky, petty, and downright gauche, it is likely that envy has played an important role in humans' quest for the resources necessary for successful survival and reproduction over the course of evolutionary time. This chapter provides an evolutionary psychological account of envy. First, it explores the hypothesized function of envy by detailing the adaptive problems for which it is hypothesized to be an evolved solution. It then addresses how an evolutionary account of envy organizes existing empirical discoveries about the nature of envy. Finally, the chapter presents suggestions for future directions of envy research that are made possible when viewing this emotion from an evolutionary psychological perspective.
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This chapter reviews recent studies examining the link between employee envy and a host of organizational outcomes at the individual and group level, from poorer leadermember exchange, lower job satisfaction, less liking for co-workers, lower organizationbased self-esteem, lower group performance, higher turnover, higher absence rates, higher social loafing, to increased performance in some instances. It shows that the role of envy in organizational life is complex. Some organizations can purposely encourage envy among employees because of its apparent motivational benefits. Whether this is good or bad, all things considered, has no pat answer. The chapter also summarizes findings on the link between envy and moral disengagement in organizational settings. It appears that people who are envious can commit harmful acts in a guilt-free manner by rationalizing their harmful behavior. This allows them to avoid personal responsibility for their actions. Envy seems to be especially conducive to both harmful acts and to moral disengagement.
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Previous research has yielded inconsistent findings concerning the relationship between envy and schadenfreude. Three studies examined whether the distinction between benign and malicious envy can resolve this inconsistency. We found that malicious envy is related to schadenfreude, while benign envy is not. This result held both in the Netherlands where benign and malicious envy are indicated by separate words (Study 1: Sample A, N = 139; Sample B, N = 150), and in the USA where a single word is used to denote both types (Study 2, N = 180; Study 3, N = 349). Moreover, the effect of malicious envy on schadenfreude was independent of other antecedents of schadenfreude (such as feelings of inferiority, disliking the target person, anger, and perceived deservedness). These findings improve our understanding of the antecedents of schadenfreude and help reconcile seemingly contradictory findings on the relationship between envy and schadenfreude.
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The present study investigated whether the facial expression of the social emotion schadenfreude, the pleasant emotion which arises in response to another's misfortune, can be differentiated from the facial expression of joy. Schadenfreude was induced by videos displaying unsuccessful penalty shots of Dutch soccer players and joy by successful penalty shots of German soccer players. Thirty-two participants watched videos while the activity of four facial muscles was recorded electromyographically. Furthermore, they judged each stimulus according to valence, arousal, joy, schadenfreude and sadness. Electromyography (EMG) results revealed that schadenfreude expressions did not differ from joy with regard to involved muscles (increase of Musculus zygomaticus major and M. orbicularis oculi activity, decrease of M. corrugator supercilii activity, no activity change of M. frontalis medialis). Furthermore, facial reactions developed fast in both conditions and EMG indicated stronger reactions in the schadenfreude condition, but according to ratings participants felt more pleasure in the joy condition.
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This book is about that joyful feeling you may experience when someone else suffers a mishap, a setback, a downfall, a calamity, an adversity, or any other type of misfortune. The German language has coined the word Schadenfreude for this pleasure at the misfortunes of other people. The main aim of this edited volume is to offer a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from different perspectives and to inspire new research that will further our understanding of the nature of schadenfreude and the role it plays in social relations and society. In this first chapter we will set the stage by introducing the emotion of schadenfreude and its main underlying motives. The chapter will be concluded by a short overview of the book.
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Don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right (Basil Fawlty in the “The Germans” episode of Fawlty Towers) The Dutch authors of this chapter are both passionate fans of the sport of football. That is, the sport in which all participants actually use their feet to play the ball, referred to as “soccer” by North Americans to distinguish it from their own version of football, which paradoxically involves players throwing and catching the ball with their hands most of the time. As season-ticket holders with adjoining seats, they attend all home games of their local club Ajax in Amsterdam and watch other important football matches on television, including tournaments that involve the Dutch national team. The FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa was no exception. Not only did we follow all matches of our own national team live on television, but also many games involving teams from other nations. We watched most of these matches on the Dutch public broadcasting network (NOS), although we could also switch to English or German television channels when we felt like it (the BBC or ARD, respectively). And on some occasions we did. For some reason, we like to hear our national team being praised by foreign commentators, so when the Dutch scored the winning goal in the match against Brazil, one of the tournament favorites, we switched to the BBC to bask in the team’s reflected glory. However, we also engaged in somewhat more disturbing viewing behavior when watching games that involved teams from other nations. During the semi-final between Spain and Germany (a long-standing rival of the Netherlands), we switched to the German television channel ARD immediately after Puyol scored what turned out to be the winning goal for Spain in the twenty-seventh minute of the second half. Why? We have to admit that we wanted to hear the German commentators suffer when describing the imminent defeat of their national team. It seemed that by doing so, we actually increased our enjoyment or schadenfreude regarding the defeat of the Germans.
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When someone else suffers a mishap, a setback, a downfall, or another type of misfortune, people often experience sympathy and have feelings of concern and sorrow for the other. However, these events can also elicit schadenfreude – pleasure at the misfortunes of others. Whereas our moral tradition exalts and praises sympathetic people because they show concordance and sympathetic identification, schadenfroh people, by showing discordance and antagonism, seem to violate the obligation to cultivate the virtue of compassion (Heider, 1958; Portmann, 2000). Indeed, throughout history, schadenfreude has predominantly been condemned and regarded as a vice (Portmann, Chapter 2 in this volume; Van Dijk and Ouwerkerk, Chapter 1 in this volume). To illustrate, schadenfreude has been viewed as a malicious and immoral feeling (Baudelaire, 1855/1955), as a disguised expression of aggression (Aristotle, 350 BCE/1941), as harmful to social relations (Heider, 1958), as an “even more hideous cousin” of envy (Kierkegaard, 1847/1995), and as fiendish, diabolical, and “an infallible sign of a thoroughly bad heart and profound moral worthlessness” (Schopenhauer, 1841/1965). Although schadenfreude typically carries a negative connotation, people sometimes “cannot resist a little smile” when another person suffers a misfortune. Given the many displays of schadenfreude in television shows, blogs, magazines, and interpersonal communication (e.g., in gossip), it appears inherent to our human nature. Why do people enjoy the misfortunes of others? The purpose of our present chapter is to examine the role of one’s self-view in schadenfreude. We will argue that striving for a positive self-evaluation constitutes an important underlying motive for the experience of schadenfreude. In the following discussion we provide a theoretical framework in which we combine insights from appraisal theories on emotions and research on self-evaluation, social comparison processes, and self-affirmation, and present the main findings of our research program on the relation between self-evaluation and schadenfreude.
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Human emotions are strongly shaped by the tendency to compare the relative state of oneself to others. Although social comparison based emotions such as jealousy and schadenfreude (pleasure in the other misfortune) are important social emotions, little is known about their developmental origins. To examine if schadenfreude develops as a response to inequity aversion, we assessed the reactions of children to the termination of unequal and equal triadic situations. We demonstrate that children as early as 24 months show signs of schadenfreude following the termination of an unequal situation. Although both conditions involved the same amount of gains, the children displayed greater positive expressions following the disruption of the unequal as compared to the equal condition, indicating that inequity aversion can be observed earlier than reported before. These results support an early evolutionary origin of inequity aversion and indicate that schadenfreude has evolved as a response to unfairness.
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We investigated how early attention allocation is biased in envy. Recent research has shown that people experience envy in two distinct forms: malicious envy, which is associated with the motivation to harm the position of a superior other, and benign envy, which is associated with the motivation to improve oneself by moving upward. Based on a functional account of the two forms of envy, we predicted that within malicious envy the cognitive system is geared more strongly toward the other person than toward the superior fortune of the other. In contrast, only within benign envy the cognitive system should be geared toward opportunities to level oneself up. We investigated these hypotheses with dot probe tasks. In line with our reasoning, Experiments 1 (N = 84) and 2 (N = 78) demonstrate that within malicious envy, attention is biased more toward the envied person than toward the envy object, whereas in benign envy, this difference does not occur. Experiment 3 (N = 104) provides evidence that within benign envy, but not in malicious envy, attention is biased toward means to improve one’s own outcome. The results suggest that within benign and malicious envy, early cognitive processing is tuned toward different stimuli and thus highlight the utility of functional and process-oriented approaches to studying envy.
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The present study tested the hypothesis that Schadenfreude, pleasure at another's misfortune, results when a misfortune is perceived as deserved. Participants responded to interviews in which information was provided about a student who suffered a misfortune. The male or female student had either high or average achievements and was either responsible or not responsible for the misfortune. Results showed that responsibility for the misfortune increased Schadenfreude and this effect was mediated by the perceived deservingness of the misfortune.
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When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude and the role social comparison processes and envy play in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
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People often fail to empathize with outgroup members, and sometimes even experience Schadenfreude-pleasure-in response to their misfortunes. One potent predictor of Schadenfreude is envy. According to the Stereotype Content Model, envy is elicited by groups whose stereotypes comprise status and competitiveness. These are the first studies to investigate whether stereotypes are sufficient to elicit pleasure in response to high-status, competitive targets' misfortunes. Study 1 participants feel least negative when misfortunes befall high-status, competitive targets as compared to other social targets; participants' facial muscles simultaneously exhibit a pattern consistent with positive affect (i.e., smiling). Study 2 attenuates the Schadenfreude response by manipulating status and competition-relevant information; Schadenfreude decreases when the target-group member has lowered status or is cooperative. Stereotypes' specific content, and not just individual relationships with targets themselves, can predict Schadenfreude.
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The misfortunes of enviable individuals are met by observers with pleasure whereas those of "average", non-enviable individuals elicit pain. These responses are mirrored in deservingness judgments, as enviable individuals' misfortunes are perceived as deserved and those of non-enviable individuals perceived as undeserved. However, the neural underpinnings of these deservingness disparities remain unknown. To explore this phenomenon, we utilized fMRI to test the hypotheses that (A) non-enviable targets' misfortunes would be associated with activation of brain regions that mediate empathic responding (pain matrix, mentalizing network) and not for enviable targets and (B) that activation of those regions would predict decreases in deservingness judgments. Supporting our first hypothesis, the misfortunes of non-enviable targets (as opposed to good fortunes) were associated with activation of the mentalizing network: medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, temporal-parietal junction, and anterior temporal lobes. Supporting our second hypothesis, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activation from this contrast was negatively correlated with subsequent reports of how much the non-enviable target deserved his/her misfortune. These findings suggest that non-enviable individuals' misfortunes are perceived as unjust due, in part, to the recruitment of the mentalizing network.
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The present study tested the hypothesis that Schadenfreude, pleasure at another's misfortune, results when a misfortune is perceived as deserved. Participants responded to interviews in which information was provided about a student who suffered a misfortune. The male or female student had either high or average achievements and was either responsible or not responsible for the misfortune. Results showed that responsibility for the misfortune increased Schadenfreude and this effect was mediated by the perceived deservingness of the misfortune.
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In this experiment we demonstrate that low self-evaluation individuals experience more schadenfreude following an unfavorable performance of a contestant on a TV show after receiving negative feedback on a self-relevant task, as compared with those who received positive feedback. Moreover, we show that high self-evaluation individuals do not differ in their experience of schadenfreude as a function of feedback. These findings corroborate our argument that in a “double whammy” condition (i.e., low self-evaluation and induced self-threat), individuals will be more motivated to restore their self-worth and, consequently, experience more pleasure at the misfortunes of others.
Chapter
When someone suffers a mishap, a setback or a downfall, we sometimes find ourselves experiencing schadenfreude - an emotion defined as deriving pleasure from another's misfortune. Schadenfreude is a common experience and an emotion which is seemingly inherent to social being. This book offers a comprehensive summary of current theoretical and empirical work on schadenfreude from psychological, philosophical and other scientific perspectives. The chapters explore justice as an underlying motive for schadenfreude, and the role played by social comparison processes and envy in evoking pleasure at the misfortunes of others in interpersonal relations. Schadenfreude is also described as a common phenomenon in intergroup relations. This is a compelling volume on a fascinating subject matter that aims to increase our understanding of the nature of this emotion and the role it plays in social relations.
Article
Stereotype research emphasizes systematic processes over seemingly arbitrary contents, but content also may prove systematic. On the basis of stereotypes' intergroup functions, the stereotype content model hypothesizes that (a) 2 primary dimensions are competence and warmth, (b) frequent mixed clusters combine high warmth with low competence (paternalistic) or high competence with low warmth (envious), and (c) distinct emotions (pity, envy, admiration, contempt) differentiate the 4 competence-warmth combinations. Stereotypically, (d) status predicts high competence, and competition predicts low warmth. Nine varied samples rated gender, ethnicity, race, class, age, and disability out-groups. Contrary to antipathy models, 2 dimensions mattered, and many stereotypes were mixed, either pitying (low competence, high warmth subordinates) or envying (high competence, low warmth competitors). Stereotypically, status predicted competence, and competition predicted low warmth.
Chapter
Two somewhat distinct trends seem to have put schadenfreude on the scholarly and the popular agenda: (1) the academic (re)turn to emotion as a concept; and (2) the popular interest in seeing others suffer in the media. Recent media coverage has used the term “schadenfreude” to describe pleasure at the precipitous fall of celebrities; public rejoicing at the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; and laughter at the public embarrassment of poor singers and misguided lovers on “reality TV” shows (see Kristjánsson, 2006; Lee, 2008). As shown in this volume, a good deal of the scholarly research of schadenfreude also focuses on pleasure at the fall of high achievers and the adversity suffered by the arrogant, the unfair, or others who seem to deserve adversity. Although we have no doubt that things like material gain, envy, and perceived injustice can increase the pleasure that people take in others’ adversity, we focus on more minimal and mundane instances of schadenfreude. We think that these more minimal and mundane instances of schadenfreude offer a particularly clear picture of the emotion. In our view, the more minimal and mundane instances of schadenfreude also come closer to the pragmatic meaning of Schadenfreude in German. In everyday usage, Germans use the term Schadenfreude to refer to a moderate, modest pleasure felt in response to others’ minor falls and foibles. In other words, schadenfreude is pleasure about others’ misfortunes. Unlike other sorts of adversity, a misfortune is an adversity caused by happenstance (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989; see Leach and Spears, 2008, 2009). Thus, schadenfreude is pleasure about an adversity caused by bad luck or by the vagaries of competition. More forthright and fulsome pleasures are defined in other terms in German. For example, pleasure at seeing justice done is defined as Genugtuung.
Chapter
When a person suffers a negative outcome and fails to achieve a desired goal, those who observe that outcome may experience a range of emotions. They may feel distressed and sympathetic, especially if the other person is a close acquaintance or a friend. They may feel angry and resentful about the fact that the negative event occurred if they believe that the other person was a victim and that the outcome violated moral values and social norms. They may also feel schadenfreude or happiness about the other person’s misfortune, believing the negative outcome to be justified and deserved. I propose that a key variable that influences all of these emotions is perceived deservingness. The way we react emotionally to the outcomes of others is associated with how deserved or undeserved we believe the outcomes are. Our beliefs about deservingness influence not only the way we feel about the negative outcomes that another person experiences, they also influence our feelings about the other’s positive outcomes. Perceived deservingness is also an important variable that affects the way we feel about our own good of bad outcomes. These are strong claims, but they are justified by research findings and indeed by our own everyday experiences when we react to life events involving another person or self. Perceived deservingness has widespread effects on the emotions that we experience and these effects have only recently been investigated in systematic empirical research.
Article
Two studies investigate schadenfreude (pleasure at the misfortune of others) as an emotional response to news about out-group misfortunes in a political and consumer context by analyzing reactions of voters for opposition parties to the downfall of a Dutch coalition government (Study 1), and of BlackBerry-users to negative news reports about Apple’s iPhone (Study 2). Consistent with social identity theory and intergroup emotion theory, both studies demonstrate that affective in-group identification increases schadenfreude reactions to news about an out-group misfortune, provided that this misfortune occurs in a domain of interest to news recipients. Additional findings show that this interaction effect attenuates when a misfortune instead befalls the in-group (Study 1) and is still observed when controlling for affective dispositions towards the out-group (Study 2). Moreover, results suggest that schadenfreude reactions strengthen subsequent intentions to share news about the out-group’s misfortune with others or to engage in negative word-of-mouth (Study 2).
Article
• Conducted 2 experiments in which a total of 324 undergraduates were asked to make similarity judgments about social concepts, varying the direction of the comparison specified by the question. Asymmetries in rated similarity were used to diagnose concepts that function as habitual reference points. In Exp I, after completing the Self-Monitoring Scale, Ss were asked to make directional judgments about themselves vs a friend along various dimensions (social and physical). Ss were found to rate a friend as more similar to themselves than vice versa along both social and physical dimensions, suggesting that the self served as a reference point. In Exp II Ss made global similarity comparisons between themselves and typical examples of various social stereotypes. Directional asymmetries were inversely related to the extent of Ss' knowledge about the stereotypes: The self acted as a reference point with respect to stereotypes with few known attributes but not with respect to those with many attributes. The relation between level of self-monitoring and asymmetry effects was weak and inconsistent in both experiments. Results suggest that concepts serving as social reference points vary across judgment contexts in accord with general cognitive models of similarity comparisons. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) • Conducted 2 experiments in which a total of 324 undergraduates were asked to make similarity judgments about social concepts, varying the direction of the comparison specified by the question. Asymmetries in rated similarity were used to diagnose concepts that function as habitual reference points. In Exp I, after completing the Self-Monitoring Scale, Ss were asked to make directional judgments about themselves vs a friend along various dimensions (social and physical). Ss were found to rate a friend as more similar to themselves than vice versa along both social and physical dimensions, suggesting that the self served as a reference point. In Exp II Ss made global similarity comparisons between themselves and typical examples of various social stereotypes. Directional asymmetries were inversely related to the extent of Ss' knowledge about the stereotypes: The self acted as a reference point with respect to stereotypes with few known attributes but not with respect to those with many attributes. The relation between level of self-monitoring and asymmetry effects was weak and inconsistent in both experiments. Results suggest that concepts serving as social reference points vary across judgment contexts in accord with general cognitive models of similarity comparisons. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Comparing various psychoanalytic perspectives on envy and malignant envy, the author argues for a developmental reconsideration of envy that locates its emergence in the breakdown of intersubjectivity. This breakdown is connected with the inability of the mother/analyst to hold and contain the child's/patient's affective states such that the child/patient is deprived of being recognized as a subject. Moreover, the dyad is unable to experience fully the pleasure and enjoyment of a reciprocal, mutual, and intimate relationship. This developmental failure interferes with the patient's capacity to experience and act on her desire. Unable to to sustain a link with the other's mind, the child cannot take in and then hold on to good, pleasurable experiences. The author illustrates his argument with two clinical examples, those of a child patient and of an adult patient. The child case highlights the breakdown of intersubjectivity as a developmental precursor to envy, whereas the adult vignette emphasizes the relationship between destructive envy and the perversion of desire. © 2010 William Alanson White Institute, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Article
How people react to positive or negative outcomes in their lives or in the lives of others depends on a complex array of variables. This article focuses on some of these variables, especially a person's status along dimensions of achievement and self-worth, and whether positive or negative outcomes are perceived to be deserved or undeserved. How do emotional reactions to outcomes, especially schadenfreude or pleasure in another's misfortune, relate to these status variables? And what is the influence of perceived deservingness?
Article
1. Introduction The study of emotion Types of evidence for theories of emotion Some goals for a cognitive theory of emotion 2. Structure of the theory The organisation of emotion types Basic emotions Some implications of the emotions-as-valenced-reactions claim 3. The cognitive psychology of appraisal The appraisal structure Central intensity variables 4. The intensity of emotions Global variables Local variables Variable-values, variable-weights, and emotion thresholds 5. Reactions to events: I. The well-being emotions Loss emotions and fine-grained analyses The fortunes-of-others emotions Self-pity and related states 6. Reactions to events: II. The prospect-based emotions Shock and pleasant surprise Some interrelationships between prospect-based emotions Suspense, resignation, hopelessness, and other related states 7. Reactions to agents The attribution emotions Gratitude, anger, and some other compound emotions 8. Reactions to objects The attraction emotions Fine-grained analyses and emotion sequences 9. The boundaries of the theory Emotion words and cross-cultural issues Emotion experiences and unconscious emotions Coping and the function of emotions Computational tractability.
Article
The impact of upward and downward social comparison on the mood states of high and low self-esteem persons was examined in a simulated support group setting. Subjects received bogus information indicating that a “group member” was either (a) facing minor problems adjusting to college and having difficulty coping with them (downward comparison condition), (b) facing minor problems and adjusting well (upward comparison), or (c) facing serious problems and coping relatively well with them. Results indicated that the downward comparison information improved the mood states of the low self-esteem subjects, but had little effect on the high self-esteem group. The opposite pattern of results was obtained in the upward comparison condition. In addition, both high and low self-esteem persons were encouraged by the information indicating that another person was coping successfully with rather severe problems. Results are discussed in terms of implications for social comparison theory and support groups.
Article
This book is a social psychological inquiry into identity in modern society. Starts from the social psychological premise that identity results from interaction in the social world. Reviews and integrates the most influential strands of contemporary social psychology research on identity. Brings together North American and European perspectives on social psychology. Incorporates insights from philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, cultural studies, anthropology and sociology. Places social identity research in a variety of real-life social contexts.
Article
Four studies examined how in-group identification in the domain of sports is associated with schadenfreude in reaction to another group’s suffering or gluckschmerz in reaction to another group’s good fortune. Schadenfreude increased as a function of in-group identification when the outgroup was a rival team rather than a non-rival team in Study 1. Study 2 showed that those who experience schadenfreude at learning of an outgroup player’s injury will also tend to feel gluckschmerz when they learn of the player’s recovery. Studies 3 and 4 replicated and extended these findings for both schadenfreude and gluckschmerz, and showed that neither the degree of severity of an injury nor the level of physical pain associated with the injury moderated the link between identification and both schadenfreude and gluckschmerz. Mediation analyses indicated that perceived in-group gain or loss, deservedness, and dislike were prime mediators of links between in-group identification and both emotions.
Article
Comparing various psychoanalytic perspectives on envy and malignant envy, the author argues for a developmental reconsideration of envy that locates its emergence in the breakdown of intersubjectivity. This breakdown is connected with the inability of the mother/analyst to hold and contain the child's/patient's affective states such that the child/patient is deprived of being recognized as a subject. Moreover, the dyad is unable to experience fully the pleasure and enjoyment of a reciprocal, mutual, and intimate relationship. This developmental failure interferes with the patient's capacity to experience and act on her desire. Unable to to sustain a link with the other's mind, the child cannot take in and then hold on to good, pleasurable experiences. The author illustrates his argument with two clinical examples, those of a child patient and of an adult patient. The child case highlights the breakdown of intersubjectivity as a developmental precursor to envy, whereas the adult vignette emphasizes the relationship between destructive envy and the perversion of desire.
Article
It has been suggested that the “self” is a relatively stable and habitually used reference point for interpreting social information. Three experiments that investigated this hypothesis by examining self-other judgments of similarity are reported. It has been demonstrated that habitual reference points create asymmetries in similarity judgments; using a feature-matching approach, these effects were examined in the context of self-other judgments of similarity. It was hypothesized that when judging the similarity of the self to others, subjects would focus their attention on the self, and judgments of similarity would be reduced to the extent that subjects were able to identify features of the self that are not shared by others. In contrast, it was hypothesized that when judging the similarity of others to the self, subjects would focus attention on others, and judgments of similarity would be reduced as more unique features of others were identified. It was posited that the self serves as a habitual refer...
Article
It is argued that emotions are lawful phenomena and thus can be described in terms of a set of laws of emotion. These laws result from the operation of emotion mechanisms that are accessible to intentional control to only a limited extent. The law of situational meaning, the law of concern, the law of reality, the laws of change, habituation and comparative feeling, and the law of hedonic asymmetry are proposed to describe emotion elicitation; the law of conservation of emotional momentum formulates emotion persistence; the law of closure expresses the modularity of emotion; and the laws of care for consequence, of lightest load, and of greatest gain pertain to emotion regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Despite its early origins and adaptive functions, empathy is not inevitable; people routinely fail to empathize with others, especially members of different social or cultural groups. In five experiments, we systematically explore how social identity, functional relations between groups, competitive threat, and perceived entitativity contribute to intergroup empathy bias: the tendency not only to empathize less with out-group relative to in-group members, but also to feel pleasure in response to their pain (and pain in response to their pleasure). When teams are set in direct competition, affective responses to competition-irrelevant events are characterized not only by less empathy toward out-group relative to in-group members, but also by increased counter-empathic responses: Schadenfreude and Glückschmerz (Experiment 1). Comparing responses to in-group and out-group targets against responses to unaffiliated targets in this competitive context suggests that intergroup empathy bias may be better characterized by out-group antipathy rather than extraordinary in-group empathy (Experiment 2). We also find that intergroup empathy bias is robust to changes in relative group standing—feedback indicating that the out-group has fallen behind (Experiment 3a) or is no longer a competitive threat (Experiment 3b) does not reduce the bias. However, reducing perceived in-group and out-group entitativity can significantly attenuate intergroup empathy bias (Experiment 4). This research establishes the boundary conditions of intergroup empathy bias and provides initial support for a more integrative framework of group-based empathy.
Article
People often fail to empathize with others, and sometimes even experience schadenfreude-pleasure at others' misfortunes. One potent predictor of schadenfreude is envy, which, according to the stereotype content model, is elicited by high-status, competitive targets. Here we review our recent research program investigating the relationships among stereotypes, envy, schadenfreude, and harm. Experiment 1 demonstrates that stereotypes are sufficient to influence affective responses to targets' misfortunes; participants not only report feeling less negative when misfortunes befall high-status, competitive targets as compared to other targets, they also smile more (assessed with facial EMG). Experiment 2 replicates the self-report findings from Experiment 1 and assesses behavioral tendencies toward envied targets; participants are more willing to endorse harming high-status, competitive targets as compared to other targets. Experiment 3 turns off the schadenfreude response by manipulating status and competition-relevant information regarding envied targets. Finally, Experiment 4 investigates affective and neural markers of intergroup envy and schadenfreude in the context of a long-standing sports rivalry and the extent to which neurophysiological correlates of schadenfreude are related to self-reported likelihood of harming rival team fans. We conclude with implications and future directions. © 2013 New York Academy of Sciences.
Article
A theory of the features of situations and behavior which underlie actors' perceptions of envy was developed from a consideration of envy as a "sin"- a type of transgression of a moral order. The contextual component of envy was hypothesized to be a situation in which someone's possessions, attributes, and attainments have diminished another's status. In such a situation if the person diminished is seen to belittle the character of the successful person, or undercut his success, envy will be perceived. Seven variants were constructed of a scenario in which an individual achieved a valued goal, and another did not. In the basic scenario all of the theory's preconditions for envy were met. In each of the six other variants, one precondition was altered. Of subjects who saw the basic scenario, 92% spontaneously interpreted the character's feelings as envy. In four of the other variants, reliably fewer subjects perceived envy.
Article
Schadenfreude, or pleasure in another person’s misfortune, has been linked to a cognitive appraisal that other deserves the misfortune. In the present study we develop a structural model that links schadenfreude to global self-esteem, pain of inferiority, hostile and benign envy, resentment, perceived deservingness, and sympathy. We also examine the effects of ingroup/outgroup membership on schadenfreude and test for the invariance of our structural model between these two conditions. Participants (n = 170) responded to a hypothetical scenario that manipulated ingroup/outgroup membership and perceived deservingness in relation to other’s initial success and subsequent failure. Results supported a structural model that showed invariance. They also showed that more schadenfreude was reported when the outgroup member failed and more sympathy and anger when the ingroup member failed. These results provide an integrated structural approach to the analysis of schadenfreude.
Article
Theoretical Background: Intergroup SchadenfreudeCreating the Context of Killing: Historical Insights and ExamplesGroup-Based Schadenfreude: Experimental EvidenceConcluding RemarksAuthor NoteNotesReferences
Article
Henry Fleming, the central character of (Stephen Crane’s (1952/1895)) Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage, eagerly joins the Union army although he knows little about war. Only much later does he realize how ignorant he is about whether he will run when the fighting starts. This uncertainty about himself sets off a disguised but full-scale search for social comparisons until, through the gut check of battle, he can “… watch his legs discover their merits and their faults” (Crane, 1952/1895, p. 21). Much of the classic and current social comparison theory would find support in how Fleming uses social comparisons during the several days portrayed in the novel (Suls & Miller, 1977; Suls & Wills, 1991). Festinger (1954) emphasized the role of uncertainty in motivating a person’s interest in social comparisons, and it is Fleming’s ignorance about his own capacity for bravery that first prompts him to probe for fears among the other soldiers so as “… to measure himself by his comrades” (Crane, 1952/1895, p. 21). Even the seemingly objective test of battle is confounded by social comparisons. In an early battle, Fleming panics and runs, but it is the sight of other soldiers turning tail first that induces his behavior, creating in social comparison terms a form of social validation (Cialdini, 1993) that spurs him to “…speed toward the rear in great leaps” (Crane, 1952/1895, p. 47).
Article
Self-affirmation processes are being activated by information that threatens the perceived adequacy or integrity of the self and as running their course until this perception is restored through explanation, rationalization, and/or action. The purpose of these constant explanations (and rationalizations) is to maintain a phenomenal experience of the self-self-conceptions and images as adaptively and morally adequate—that is, as competent, good, coherent, unitary, stable, capable of free choice, capable of controlling important outcomes, and so on. The research reported in this chapter focuses on the way people cope with the implications of threat to their self-regard rather than on the way they cope with the threat itself. This chapter analyzes the way coping processes restore self-regard rather than the way they address the provoking threat itself.
Article
Previous research (Smith et al., 1996) indicated that schadenfreude, pleasure at another's suffering, results when an envied person experiences a deserved misfortune. This study tested whether invidious comparisons affect schadenfreude when the misfortune is undeserved. Male participants watched a videotaped interview of an average or superior male student who had recently suffered either a deserved or undeserved setback. Participants' envy enhanced schadenfreude regardless of deservingness of the misfortune. The manipulation of deservingness, however, had no effect on schadenfreude. The effects of these variables an sympathy were also examined. Sympathy was greater when the student was average (vs. superior) and following an undeserved misfortune (vs. deserved), indicating that sympathy and schadenfreude are not simply opposites of each other.