Edited by Dirk Lindebaum, Deanna Geddes and Peter J. Jordan
Chapter 10: Talking about schadenfreude: sharing versus the social function
Talking about schadenfreude feelings can have effects that differ from the intended social functions of the emotion. In this chapter, we contend that schadenfreude is a complex emotion with both positive and negative valence. As such, socially sharing the emotion can have upsides as well as downsides, depending on how it is perceived by others. We illustrate this point by highlighting the benefits of sharing schadenfreude, as well as the negative perceptions that may form regarding the person expressing the schadenfreude. We propose that schadenfreude can play important social functional roles and that talking about it provides valuable information for observers. A number of situational and individual factors––which are not well understood––appear to help determine if the person expressing the schadenfreude is viewed positively or negatively by others. We conclude our chapter with a discussion of practical advice for individuals, as well as directions for future research.
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