Aligning with the agent of justice: Schadenfreude following punishment of trust violators

Date

2023-10-15

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Springer

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Four experiments used trust games to investigate schadenfreude’s effects on attitudes and behavior towards third parties who punish prior violations of participants’ trust. Across all studies, schadenfreude was stronger when trust violators received negative rather than positive outcomes, and participants’ perceptions that the violator deserved punishment positively predicted levels of schadenfreude. Further, participants had less favorable attitudes towards third parties who delivered more negative outcomes (Experiment 1), but attitudes and behavior were relatively more favorable when these negative outcomes were inflicted on trust violators (Experiment 2). Participants also had more favorable attitudes and behavior towards third parties who delivered punitive outcomes which did not themselves involve trust violations. Further, results were consistent with a statistical model where just world beliefs, deservingness, and schadenfreude serially mediated the effect of punishment on attitudes towards third-party punishers (Experiment 3). These results were replicated in the pre-registered Experiment 4 using a larger sample and more focused measures. Taken together, our findings are consistent with the view that schadenfreude following trust violations serves the social function of aligning relations with agents who administer retributive justice.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Keywords

Citation

Yam, P.P.C., Huang, F., Luo, X. and Parkinson, B. (2023) Aligning with the agent of justice: Schadenfreude following punishment of trust violators. Motivation and Emotion, 47, pp. 1095–1115

Rights

Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/uk/

Research Institute

Institute for Psychological Science