Research on schadenfreude as a discordant emotional reaction to the misfortune, suffering or failure of others has predominantly focused on the interpersonal level. However, schadenfreude may also be evoked following a misfortune of another group or nation. For example, the Dutch experienced satisfaction and joy when their historic rival Germany was defeated by Croatia in the 1998 Soccer World Cup (Leach, Spears, Branscombe, & Doosje, 2003). We argue that, when studying schadenfreude at the intergroup level, people’s strength of social identification with groups (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), and in particular their affective social identification (Ellemers, Kortekaas, & Ouwerkerk, 1999), is an important factor to take into consideration. When people identify strongly with their own group and weakly with another, suffering group, they will experience more schadenfreude. Furthermore, we argue that this is likely to occur in situations that are characterized by salience of intergroup rivalry or competition. Accordingly, the results of an experimental survey demonstrate that salience of rivalry increases schadenfreude following outgroup failure among both Dutch and Germans. Moreover, this effect was fully mediated by relative affective identification with one’s own group. That is, salience of rivalry increased ingroup identification and at the same time decreased outgroup identification. Relative identification subsequently determined intergroup schadenfreude. However, it should be noted that these effects were stronger for male than female respondents. Additional findings suggest that intergroup schadenfreude can be reduced by intergroup contact.
|Publication status||Published - 13 Jun 2008|
|Event||15th General Meeting of the European Association for Experimental Social Psychology - Opatija, Croatia|
Duration: 10 Jun 2008 → 14 Jun 2008
|Conference||15th General Meeting of the European Association for Experimental Social Psychology|
|Period||10/06/08 → 14/06/08|