Schadenfreude as social-functional dominance regulator  /

Preprint - Schadenfreude as social-functional dominance regulator


Date created: | Last Updated:


Creating DOI. Please wait...

Create DOI

Category: Project

Description: Schadenfreude follows from misfortunes happening to other individuals. It is therefore an essentially social emotion. However, previous research has mainly explored its intrapersonal functions. Complementing these findings, we propose a social-functional approach to schadenfreude. Seven studies (total N = 2,362) support that (a) schadenfreude is a reaction to a misfortune befalling an initially dominance-displaying individual and (b) the public expression of schadenfreude downregulates the dominance of the other person. Specifically, schadenfreude towards initially successful persons was intensified when they displayed dominance (i.e., hubristic pride or general dominance) instead of prestige (i.e., authentic pride or general prestige) or other displays (i.e., embarrassment) following their achievement (Studies 1 to 3). This effect was mediated via inferiors’ malicious envy (Study 4). The public expression of schadenfreude then reduced the perceived dominance of the initially successful person compared to private expressions of schadenfreude and awkward silence (Studies 5 and 6). This dominance reduction further had downstream consequences for the superior person (Study 7). The findings underline the social functioning of schadenfreude and provide avenues for research on schadenfreude at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intergroup level.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

This project represents a preprint. Learn more about how to work with preprint files. View preprint


Loading files...



Recent Activity

Loading logs...

This website relies on cookies to help provide a better user experience. By clicking Accept or continuing to use the site, you agree. For more information, see our Privacy Policy and information on cookie use.

Start managing your projects on the OSF today.

Free and easy to use, the Open Science Framework supports the entire research lifecycle: planning, execution, reporting, archiving, and discovery.

Create an Account Learn More Hide this message