University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Two is Company, Three is an Envious Crowd: Effects of a Third Party Evaluator on Expressions of Envy According to a Lacanian Psychoanalytic Perspective

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

This study aimed to test French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s theory that envy requires three parties, not two. Students on the University of Kentucky’s campus were randomly selected to respond to vignettes designed to evoke envy. Some of the vignettes included mention of a "third party" or outside source providing feedback to the protagonist about the desirability of a certain enviable position. Researchers hypothesized that envy would increase in the presence of a third party that publically recognized the envied quality and heightened its desirability. The results suggest that envy does indeed increase when the desirability of an envied object is increased by public recognition. This opens the door for future research. The relationships between shame, humiliation, hostility, and envy were evaluated with results indicating that envy shares a positive correlation with both shame and hostility, but no correlation with humiliation. Possible applications of envy to motivate people to improve themselves are also explored and discussed.

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Two is Company, Three is an Envious Crowd: Effects of a Third Party Evaluator on Expressions of Envy According to a Lacanian Psychoanalytic Perspective

This study aimed to test French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s theory that envy requires three parties, not two. Students on the University of Kentucky’s campus were randomly selected to respond to vignettes designed to evoke envy. Some of the vignettes included mention of a "third party" or outside source providing feedback to the protagonist about the desirability of a certain enviable position. Researchers hypothesized that envy would increase in the presence of a third party that publically recognized the envied quality and heightened its desirability. The results suggest that envy does indeed increase when the desirability of an envied object is increased by public recognition. This opens the door for future research. The relationships between shame, humiliation, hostility, and envy were evaluated with results indicating that envy shares a positive correlation with both shame and hostility, but no correlation with humiliation. Possible applications of envy to motivate people to improve themselves are also explored and discussed.