University of Kentucky

Poster Title

The Neural Connection Between Envy and Schadenfreude- A fMRI Study

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

The present study examines the connection between the social emotions of envy and schadenfreude, pleasure over another's misfortune, within the brain. In a recent study by Singer, et al. (2006), activation of the areas of the brain known for the generation of emotions such as empathy was captured; empathy was provoked by a physical misfortune, shock. The present study attempted to capture the emotions provoked by a social misfortune. Consisting of four phases, this study holds the manipulation of envy consistent through all phases in order to generate the feeling of schadenfreude within participants. Envy is manipulated in Phase I through 24 fictional applications. Participants react via paper and pencil measures to these applications; applicants' descriptions and pictures contain high or low envy characteristics. In Phase II, participants revisited the fictional students while in a 3 Tesla MRI machine. In Phase III, participants found new information while in the MRI machine; they were told whether or not the students had been accepted or denied the position for which they were applying. In Phase IV, participants were asked to recall details about the applications and to state their feelings toward each fictional student. The researchers expected with increased status that there would be increased envy. There should be expression of schadenfreude if the person of higher status is rejected. In a pilot study of 11 participants, activation areas of the emotion and pleasure centers suggested that these predictions may lead to significant findings at the conclusion of the study.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

The Neural Connection Between Envy and Schadenfreude- A fMRI Study

The present study examines the connection between the social emotions of envy and schadenfreude, pleasure over another's misfortune, within the brain. In a recent study by Singer, et al. (2006), activation of the areas of the brain known for the generation of emotions such as empathy was captured; empathy was provoked by a physical misfortune, shock. The present study attempted to capture the emotions provoked by a social misfortune. Consisting of four phases, this study holds the manipulation of envy consistent through all phases in order to generate the feeling of schadenfreude within participants. Envy is manipulated in Phase I through 24 fictional applications. Participants react via paper and pencil measures to these applications; applicants' descriptions and pictures contain high or low envy characteristics. In Phase II, participants revisited the fictional students while in a 3 Tesla MRI machine. In Phase III, participants found new information while in the MRI machine; they were told whether or not the students had been accepted or denied the position for which they were applying. In Phase IV, participants were asked to recall details about the applications and to state their feelings toward each fictional student. The researchers expected with increased status that there would be increased envy. There should be expression of schadenfreude if the person of higher status is rejected. In a pilot study of 11 participants, activation areas of the emotion and pleasure centers suggested that these predictions may lead to significant findings at the conclusion of the study.