Schadenfreude and the Self: the Effect of Self-Construal on Malicious Delight At Others’ Unfortunate Decisions

Thomas Kramer, Baruch College, CUNY, USA
Ozge Yucel Aybat, Baruch College, CUNY, USA
We introduce schadenfreude to the marketing literature and examine conditions under which others’ unfortunate decisions elicit such malicious pleasure. Four studies show that schadenfreude in response to others’ bad decisions is greater for individuals with an independent (vs. interdependent) self. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the differential levels of schadenfreude are driven by differences in competitive tendencies associated with an independent versus interdependent self-construal. We then find that self-construal has a greater impact on schadenfreude for others’ bad choices of unconventional (vs. conventional) options. Finally, schadenfreude is shown to lead to more conventional choices for individuals with a predominant independent self-construal.
[ to cite ]:
Thomas Kramer and Ozge Yucel Aybat (2010) ,"Schadenfreude and the Self: the Effect of Self-Construal on Malicious Delight At Others’ Unfortunate Decisions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 467-468 .