- Schadenfreude is a German term meaning joy derived from the misfortune of others.
- When the Soldier uses the taunt, near the end, you can hear a director quietly say “And cut”.
- The Scout‘s laugh has a sound effect for him slapping his knee. This can be heard even when he uses the same line for killing multiple enemies in a short time.
Humanity’s dark side
So far, there isn’t a lot of research attempting to discern schadenfreude subtypes, Wang said, adding that he hopes the new paper will spur more studies.
There is evidence, however, that feelings of schadenfreude might start young — perhaps as early as 2 years of age. In one 2014 study, researchers set up experiments to elicit schadenfreude in 24-month-olds. In one condition, the scientists asked a mother to read a book to herself while her child and a preschool classmate played. After 2 minutes, the mom would “accidentally” spill water on the pages of her book. In the second condition, the mother would do the same thing but cuddle her child’s friend on her lap as she read, making her own child jealous of the attention.
The researchers found that the jealous kids were more gleeful about the spilled water than the kids who hadn’t been primed to experience jealousy. This was likely an early expression of schadenfreude, the researchers reported in the journal PLOS One.
People show individual differences in how they experience schadenfreude, as well, Wang said. The emotion is more common in people who are high in psychopathy (callous and unempathetic), Machiavellian traits (scheming), narcissism (self-obsessed) and sadism. But, Wang said, schadenfreude is pervasive among people in all settings, from political rivalries to sports.
“I think this emotion can shed light on some of the darker sides of our humanity,” he said.
Originally published on Live Science.