Schadenfreude effect: to feel happy because of the evil of others.


The effect Schadenfreude does reference to the regocijo that feel when others commit an error or see them fail. No in vain, the videos funny that more triumph are those that teach us falls or hits of third people. We feel some joy by the extraneous misfortune. We are therefore bad people?

What means Schadenfreude?

The word Schadenfreude comes from of the German and does not exist a translation in Spanish of the same, perhaps us of shame define this type of feeling and has not wanted  neither lexicalizar. A so much hipócrita because it does not happen at all for describing an emotion that fulfils some adaptative functions and do not do us worse people, as long as it do not exceed the normal limits, clear is. The German word composes  on the one hand of “schaden” that means misfortune or damage and by another “freude” that means joy by what the most seemed translation in Spanish would be the one of regodeo or joy malsana.

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The effect Shadenfreude relates  to lower scale with the sadism, that is the tendency for feeling pleasure when  infringe a damage to another person. In this effect only feels  some pleasure, but without arriving to make the damage with our own hands.

Why we gladden us of the extraneous misfortunes?

The emotions fulfil functions of adaptation to the surroundings by what this feeling of joy by the extraneous misfortune has to have also an adaptative reason.

  • We feel relief. In some way, when we feel that another person suffers a damage are ensuring us that the damage are not it suffering we and our survival perpetuates . In some way is a selfish feeling, but have to think that what more want to is to us same. In the animal world if a group of cervatillos is escaping of an attack of some lions, if one of these cervatillos trips  the one who will achieve to survive is the one who does not do it by what would have to feel some relief and joy by this extraneous evil. Natural selection.
  • We are envidiosos. If we are not able to achieve that that would like us have inconscientemente (or no) neither likes us that another person have it. They exist people very envidiosas in which it arises the effect Schadenfreude like justification of his beliefs to another person: if I do not have it you neither. Deep down if we have not been able to make something compare us with other people and if these neither have achieved it or have fracasado relieves our initial frustration because it equalises us to the average.
  • Low self-esteem. Related with the previous if have a drop autoeficacia perceived and our levels of self-esteem are low the fact to see to other people that neither are able to surpass  to himself same equates us to them and feel that our level of self-esteem finds  to levels resembled the ones of the other.
  • Rivalry. It is very common that interested of a team gladden  of the injuries of players of his rival maximum, is not this a bit cruel? What sucede is that the rival team to the that compare us has suffered a drop and this will benefit us in the future. It is something resembled what explain already on the feeling of relief when it competes  by a same aim, as in the case of the cervatillos that compete for surviving in front of the attack of a lion. If my team does not have low and the rival yes, is more likely that my team win. This likes.
  • Restablecimiento Of the justice. When we see that a person that does not have a good moral behaviour, ethical or even trasgrede norms him sucede something bad gladden us of his bad since we consider that it deserves it to him. It is our way to avenge us by something bad that another person has done already was to us or to other people. If for example, to Donald Trump him sucediese something bad is likely that a lot of people gladdened .

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One of the consequences of a feeling aggravated or excessive of regodeo by the extraneous evil can unchain with hindsight  feelings of fault by the fact to have us gladdened of of a damage, especially what graver was this damage. Fortunately, the nature is wise and also exists another opposite emotion, the compassion, which are precisely a greater empathic approach to the person that suffers a misfortune.

If some time have felt this type feeling do not concern you, happens us to all in some degree. In which situations have felt you gladdened by an extraneous misfortune?

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Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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