Do Happy People Experience Schadenfreude?

A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psycholog tudy examined whether dispositionally happy individuals feel less happiness when another person experiences a misfortune. Happy individuals are known to be less vulnerable to upward comparison information. In addition, schadenfreude is elicited by upward comparison targets (e.g. high achievers and tall poppies). Thus, it was assumed that happiness would decrease schadenfreude. The lower level of hostile feelings in happy individuals, which are elicited by threats to one’s person and inferiority heightened when confronted with a high achiever, was hypothesized to decrease schadenfreude. Studies 1 and 2 were conducted with scenario experiments, and the hypotheses were supported in both studies. Regression analyses revealed a significant direct effect of happiness on a reduction in schadenfreude. How not feeling schadenfreude when witness another person’s misfortune helps people maintain and/or increase their happiness is discussed.

For the abstract


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