Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


  • Charles HooglandEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1468-1



Pleasure felt in response to learning of another person or group’s misfortune.


Schadenfreude is a portmanteau of the German words schaden, harm, and freude, joy. Although the word “schadenfreude” has no English language equivalent, there is a word for it in many other languages, including Dutch, Greek, Chinese, and Russian (van Dijk and Ouwerkerk 2014). Children as young as 24 months old have expressed schadenfreude when a minor misfortune has befallen a preschool friend with the seemingly unfair advantage of their mother’s exclusive attention (Shamay-Tsoory et al. 2014). Thus, there is linguistic evidence for schadenfreude’s cross-cultural universality and empirical evidence for its emergence early in social development. In addition, Buss (2000) has noted that schadenfreude may be an evolved psychological mechanism designed for successful competition, and research on schadenfreude has supported this notion....


Parental Investment Physical Attractiveness Major League Baseball Interpersonal Context Successful Competition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Missouri State UniversitySpringfieldUSA