An examination of the link between just world belief and schadenfreude

Pietraszkiewicz, Agnieszka (8 July 2014). An examination of the link between just world belief and schadenfreude (Unpublished). In: General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 09.07.-12.07.2014.

Schadenfreude is a pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune. Just world belief is a desire to belief that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get (Lerner, 1965,1980). Interestingly, previous scholars documented the link between schadenfreude, responsibility and deservingness (e.g. van Dijk, Goslinga, & Ouwerkerk, 2008), i.e. the more failure is deserved, the more perceived responsibility for the failure, and subsequently more schadenfreude is evoked. Thus, the present study tested if a threat of a just world belief intensifies experience of schadenfreude. The participants (N=48, 31 women and 17 men, M age = 23.72), were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions (just world belief: threat versus no-threat) between-participant design. They read scenarios which were designed to threaten or maintain their just world belief. Next, they were transferred to an online magazine presenting funny stories about other peoples’ failures. The stories were selected in a pilot study in order to evoke schadenfreude. As presumed, the participants exposed to the threat of just world belief experienced more schadenfreude, i.e. spent more time on reading schadenfreude stories. The results confirmed the existence of a link between just world threat and schadenfreude.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Pietraszkiewicz, Agnieszka


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Agnieszka Pietraszkiewicz

Date Deposited:

16 Dec 2015 09:54

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:50


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