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Savouring Schadenfreude is ‘Biologically Normal’



A new study by Princeton University academics has confirmed that despite people’s protestations, most feel pleasure when rivals struggle, with those they envied the most providing the most delight.


Study chief Professor Susan Fiske said they were able to ‘viscerally capture malicious glee’ in their study on schadenfreude which compared participants’ reactions to drug addicts, old people and bankers being soaked by a taxi. When bankers were soaked, more people smiled, she noted.


‘This experiment shows that the dimensions predicting envy are high status and competition,” said the Professor.


“Jealousy and envy are highly correlated,” she added, “When we ask people on surveys who is envied in American society, they report the same groups: objects of jealousy.” (Daily Mail: )


Developmental molecular biologist Dr John J. Medina chatted about the science of schadenfreude in a paper published by Psychiatric Times in 2004, in which he suggested that pretty much all knowledge about how the brain affects behaviour boils downs to two patterns: ‘seeking pleasure, avoiding pain.”


“There is a powerful bridge between pleasure and pain and their social equivalents; indeed, to the brain, they are nearly identical,” Dr Medina noted.


“Recent findings confirm that the same reward circuits are activated during sex and also while delighting in someone else’s misfortune (schadenfreude).”


“Similarly, both physical pain and envy over another person’s success activate these circuits,” he added.


The same year researchers from Aberdeen University compared personality traits with the manner in which people laugh and discovered that while people who giggled or chuckled were more likely to be good company, others should be avoided.


“Cacklers were rejoicing in their own good fortune or indulging in Schadenfreude,” they revealed.


“Howling suggested a dangerous neurological condition. Snorters were snooty, sniggerers immature, insensitive and unsympathetic.”(Guardian: )









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