Getting What They Deserve: the Role of Fairness in Schadenfreude From Another’S Product Failure

This paper examines the roles of fairness and psychological closeness to a target on the experience of schadenfreude – taking pleasure in the suffering of another. In a consumption-related context, we examined consumers’ emotional reaction to the downfall of another’s product. Prior research has focused on the link between envy and schadenfreude and on the perceived deservingness of the misfortune. In contrast to this work, we focus on the perceived deservingness or fairness of the initial product ownership. Our findings suggest that schadenfreude can stem from both the removal (via product downfall) of an unfair situation as well as the removal of a product that inspires envy. Unexpectedly, psychologically closeness to the product owner did not enhance schadenfreude, perhaps due to an increase in conflicting emotions.


Ethan Pancer and Laurence Ashworth (2009) ,"Getting What They Deserve: the Role of Fairness in Schadenfreude From Another’S Product Failure", in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Sridhar Samu, Rajiv Vaidyanathan, and Dipankar Chakravarti, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 2-3.


Ethan Pancer, Queen's School of Business, Canada
Laurence Ashworth, Queen's School of Business, Canada


AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2009

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