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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 May;84(5):932-43.

Malicious pleasure: schadenfreude at the suffering of another group.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz 95064, USA.


Two studies examined intergroup schadenfreude--malicious pleasure at an out-group's misfortune. Study 1 showed that schadenfreude regarding a German loss in soccer was increased by interest in soccer and threats of Dutch inferiority. The effect of inferiority threat was especially strong for participants less interested in soccer; the more interested showed relatively high schadenfreude. Study 2 replicated these effects by showing a similar pattern of schadenfreude regarding losses by Germany and Italy in another setting. However, schadenfreude toward legitimately superior Italy was lower when a norm of honest and direct expression was made salient to participants lower in soccer interest. These results establish schadenfreude as an emotion that is moderated by the salient dimensions of particular intergroup relations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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